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The Life of 

Ludwig van Beethoven 

By Alexander Wheelock Thayer 

Edited, revised and amended from the original 
English manuscript and the German editions 
of Hermann Deiters and Hugo Riemann, con- 
cluded, and all the documents newly translated 


Henry Edward Krehbiel 

Volume II 

Published by 

The Beethoven Association 
New York 


Copyright, 1921, 
By Henry Edward Krehbiel 

From the press of G. Schirmer, Inc., New York 
rrinted in the U. S. A. 



Contents of Volume II 

Chapter I. The Year 1803 — Cherubini's Operas in Vienna 
and Rivalry between Schikaneder and the Imperial 
Theatres — Beethoven's Engagement at the Theater- 
an-der-Wien — "Christus am Olberg" again — Bridge- 
tower and the "Kreutzer" Sonata — Career of the 
Violinist — Negotiations with Thomson for the Scottish 
Songs — New Friends — Willibrord Mahler's Portrait of 
Beethoven — Compositions of the Year — A Pianoforte 
from Erard 1 

Chapter IL The Year 1804 — Schikaneder Sells His 
Theatre and is then Dismissed from the Manage- 
ment — Beethoven's Contract Ended and Renewed by 
Baron Braun — The "Sinfonia Eroica" — Prince Louis 
Ferdinand of Prussia — Quarrel between Beethoven 
and von Breuning — The "Waldstein" Sonata — Sonnleith- ^ 

ner, Treitschke and Gaveaux — Paer and His Opera 
"Leonora" — "Fidelio" Begun — Beethoven's Growing 
PbpTriarity-=— Publications of the Year 22 

Chapter HI. The Year 1805 — Schuppanzigh's First Quar- 
tet Concerts — First Public Performance of the 
"Eroica" — Pleyel — The Opera "Leonore," or "Fidelio"; 
Jahn's Study of the Sketchbook — The Singers and the 
Production — Vienna Abandoned by the Aristocracy as 
French Advance — Rockel's Story of the Revision of the 
Opera — Compositions and Publications of the Year 41 

Chapter IV. The Year 1806— Repetitions of "Fidelio": 

A Revision of the Book by von Breuning — Changes i^ 

in the Opera — The "Leonore" Overtures — A Second 
Failure — Beethoven Withdraws the Opera from the 
Theatre — Marriage of Karl Kaspar van Beethoven — A 
Journey to Silesia — Beethoven Leaves Prince Lich- 
nowsky's Country-seat in Anger — George Thomson and 
His Scottish Songs — Compositions and Publications of 


1^ O '^ ^n^ "^ 
_k_ V_' '5_ C^"0/''*a> 

vi Contents of Volume II 

the Year — The "Appassionata" Sonata and Rasoiimowi 
sky Quartets — Reception of the Quartets in Russia and 
England — The Concerto for Violin 57 

Chapter V. Beethoven's Friends and Patrons in the 
First Lustrum of the Nineteenth Century — Archduke 
Rudolph, an Imperial Pupil — Count Andreas Rasou- 
mowsky — Countess Erdody — Baroness Ertmann — Marie 
Bigot — Therese Malfatti — Nanette Streicher — Doctor 
Zizius — Anecdotes 78 

Chapter VI. Princes and Counts as Theatrical Direc- 
tors : Beethoven Appeals for an Appointment — Vain 
Expectations — Subscription Concerts at Prince Lobko- 
witz's — The Symphony in B-flat — Overture to "Corio- 
lan" — Contract with Clementi — Errors in the Dates 
of Important Letters — The Mass in C — ^A Falling-out 
with Hummel — The "Leonore" Overtures again — Per- 
formances of Beethoven's Works at the "Liebhaber" 
Concerts— The Year 1807 98 

Chapter VII. The Year 1808 — Johann van Beethoven 
Collects a Debt and Buys an Apothecary Shop in 
Linz — Wilhelm Rust — Plans for New Operas — Sketches 
for "Macbeth" — Imitative Music and the "Pastoral" 
Symphony — Count Oppersdorff and the Fourth Sym- 
phony — A Call to Cassel — Organization of Rasoumow- 
sky's Quartet — Appreciation of Beethoven in Vienna: 
Disagreement with Orchestral Musicians — Mishaps at 
the Performance of the Choral Fantasia 114 

Chapter \TIL Jerome Bonaparte's Invitation — A New 
Plan to Keep Beethoven in Vienna — The Annuity Con- 
tract — Ries's Disappointment — Farewell to Archduke 
Rudolph in a Sonata — The Siege and Capitulation of 
Vienna — Seyfried's "Studies" — Reissig's Songs — An 
Abandoned Concert — Commission for Music to "Eg- 
mont" — Increased Cost of Living in Vienna — Dilatory 
Debtors— Products of 1809 135 

Chapter IX. The Years 1807-09 : a Retrospect— Beet- 
hoven's IntclN^ctual Development and Attainments : 
Growth after Ein.inripation from Domestic Cares — His 
Natural Disposition — Eager in S«'lf-Instniction — In- 
terest in Oriental Studies— His Religious Beliefs — Atti- 
tude towards the Church 163 

Contents of Volume II vii 

Chapter X. The Year 1810 — Disappointing Decrease in 
Productivity — The Music for "Egmont" — Money from 
Clementi, and a Marriage Project — A New Infatuation 
Prompts Attention to Dress — Therese Malfatti — 
Beethoven's Relations with Bettina von Arnim — Her 
Correspondence with Goethe — A Question of Authen- 
ticity Discussed — Beethoven's Letter to Bettina — An 
Active Year with the Pubhshers 170 

Chapter XI. The Year 1811 — Bettina von Arnim — The 
Letters between Beethoven and Goethe — The Great 
Trio in B-flat — Music for a New Theatre in Pesth: 
"The Ruins of Athens" and "King Stephen"— Com- 
positions and Pubhcations of the Year 196 

Chapter XII. The Year 1812 — Reduction of Income from 
the Annuity — The Austrian "Finanzpatent" — Legal 
Obligation of the Signers to the Agreement — First 
Performance of the Pianoforte Concerto in E-flat — A 
Second Visit to Teplitz — Beethoven and Goethe — 
Amalie Sebald — Beethoven in Linz — He Drives His 
Brother Johann into a Detested Marriage — Rode and 
the Sonata Op. 96 — Spohr — The Seventh and Eighth 
Symphonies — Malzel and His Metronome — A Canon* 
and the Allegretto of the Eighth Symphony 211 

Chapter XIII. The Year 1813 — Beethoven's Journal — • 
Illness of Karl Kaspar van Beethoven — He Requests 
the Appointment of His Brother as Guardian of His 
Son — Death of Prince Kinsky — Obligations under the 
Annuity Agreement — Beethoven's Earnings — Malzel 
and "Wellington's Victory" — Battle Pieces and Their- — — 
Popularity — Postponement of the Projected Visit to 
London — The Seventh Symphony — Spohr on Beet- 
hoven's Conducting — Concerts, Compositions and Pub- 
lications of the Year 239 

Chapter XIV. The Year 1814— Success of "Wellington's 

Victory" — Umlauf Rescues a Performance — Revival /" 

and Revision of "Fidelio" — Changes Made in the fr 
Opera — Success Attained — The Eighth Symphony — 
Beethoven Plays in the Great Trio in B-flat — ^Anton 

Schindler Appears on the Scene — The Quarrel with 

Malzel — Legal Controversy and Compromise — Mo- 
scheles and the Pianoforte Score of "Fidelio" — The 


viii Contexts of Volume II 

Vienna Congress — Tribute from a Scottish Poet — "Weis- 
senbach — Tomaschek — Meyerbeer — Rasoumowsky's 
Palace Destroyed by Fire 261 

Chapter XV. The Year 1815 — New Opera Projects Con- 
sidered — "Romulus and Remus" — Settlements with 
the Heirs of Prince Kinsky — Unjust Aspersions on the 
Conduct of Kinsky and Lobkowitz — "The ]\Iount of 
Olives" in England — Negotiations with English Pub- 
lishers — Diabelli — Charles Neate — Death of Karl Kaspar 
van Beethoven — His Wishes with regard to the Guar- 
dianship of His Son — Growth of Beethoven's Intimacy 
with Schindler — Compositions and Publications of the 
Year 3(M, 

Chapter XVI. The Year 1816 — A Commission from the Ge- 
sellschaft der Musikfreunde — Guardianship of Nephew 
Karl — Giannatasio del Rio — Beethoven's Music in 
London — The Philharmonic Society — Three Overtures 
Compose<I, Bought and Discarded — Birchall and 
Neate — The Erdodys — Fanny Giannatasio — "An die 
^erne Geliebte" — Major- General Kyd — Accusations^ 
againsf Neate^^Letters to Sir George Smart — Anselm 
Hiittenbrenner — The Year's Productions 329 

Chapter XVII. The Year 1817 — Beethoven and the 
Public Journals of Vienna — Fanny Giannatasio's Jour- 
nal — Extracts from Beethoven's "Tagebuch" — The 
London Philharmonic Society again — Propositions Sub- 
mitted by Ries — Nephew Karl and His Mother — Beet- 
hoven's Pedagogical Suggestions to Czerny — Cipriani 
Potter — Marschner — Marie Pachler-Koschak — Another 
^lysterious Passion — Beethoven and Malzel's Metro- 
nome — An Unproductive Year 358 

Chaptkr XVni. The Year 1818— Gift of a Pianoforte 
from John Broad wood — The Composer Takes Personal 
Charge of His Nephew — His Unfitness as Foster-father 
and Guardian —Abandonment of His Projected Visit 
to I/ondon -The (iesellschaft der Musikfreimde's 
Oratorio — The Ne|)hew an<l a Mother's Legal Struggle 
for Possession of Her Son — The Case Reviewed — The 
Predicate "van" and Beethoven's Nobility — Archduke 
Rudolph Bceomes Archl)ishop of Olmiitz — Work on the 
Mass in D, Ninth Symphony and Grand Trio in B-flat 390 


Chapter I 

The Year 1803 — Cherubini's Operas in Vienna — Beethoven's 
Engagement at the Theater-an-der-Wien — "Christus am 
Olberg" again — Bridgetower and the *'Kreutzer" Sonata — 
Negotiations with Thomson — New Friends — Mahler's 
Portrait of Beethoven. 

KOTZEBUE, after a year of activity in Vienna as Alxinger's 
successor in the direction, under the banker Baron von 
Braun, of the Court Theatre, then a year of exile in Siberia 
(1800), whence he was recalled by that semi-maniac Paul, who was 
moved thereto by the delight which the little drama "Der 
Leibkutscher Peters III." had given him — then a short time in 
Jena, where his antagonism to Goethe broke out into an open 
quarrel, established himself in Berlin. There he began, with 
Garlieb Merkel (1802), the publication of a polemical literary 
journal called the "Freymiithige," Goethe, the Schlegels and their 
party being the objects of their polemics. Spazier's "Zeitung fiir 
die Elegante Welt" (Leipsic) was its leading opponent, until the 
establishment of a new literary journal at Jena. 

At the beginning of 1803, Kotzebue was again in Vienna on 
his way to Italy. Some citations from the "Freymiithige" of 
this time have an especial value, as coming, beyond a doubt, 
from his pen. His position in society, his knowledge from ex- 
perience of theatrical affairs in Vienna, his personal acquaint- 
ance with Beethoven and the other persons mentioned, all 
combine to enable him to speak with authority. An article in 
No. 58 (April 12) on the "Amusements of the Viennese after 
Carnival," gives a peep into the salon-life of the capital, and 
introduces to us divers matters of so much interest, as to ex- 
cuse the want of novelty in certain parts. 

.... Amateur concerts at which unconstrained pleasure prevails are 
frequent. The beginning is usually made with a quartet by Haydn or 
Mozart; then follows, let us say, an air by Salieri or Paer, then a 
pianoforte piece with or without another instrument ohhligato, and the 

I 1] 

2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

concert closes as a rule with a chorus or something of the kind from a 
favorite opera. The most excellent pianoforte pieces that won admira- 
tion during the last carnival were a new quintet ^ by Beethoven, clever, 
serious, full of deep significance and character, but occasionally a little 
too glaring, here and there Odenspriinge in the manner of this master; 
then a quartet by Anton Eberl, dedicated to the Empress, lighter in 
character, full of fine yet profound invention, originality, fire and 
strength, brilliant and imposing. Of all the musical compositions 
which have appeared of late these are certainly two of the best. 
Beethoven has for a short time past been engaged, at a considerable 
salary, by the Theater-an-der-\Yien, and will soon produce at that 
playhouse an oratorio of his composition entitled "Christus am 01- 
berg." Amongst the artists on the violin the most notable are Clement, 
Schuppanzigh (who gives the concerts in the Augarten in the summer) 
and Luigi Tomasini. Clement (Director of the orchestra an-der-Wien) 
is an admirable concert player; Schuppanzigh performs quartets 
very agreeably. Good dilettanti are Eppinger, Molitor and others. 
Great artists on the pianoforte are Beethofen [sic]. Hummel, Madame 
Auernhammer and others. The famous Abbe Vogler is also here at 
present, and plays fugues in particular with great precision, although 
his rather heavy touch betrays the organist. Among the amateurs 
Baroness Ertmann plays with amazing precision, clearness and delicacy, 
and Fraulein Kurzbeck touches the keys with high intelligence and 
deep feeling. Mesdames von Frank and Natorp, formerly Gerardi 
and Sessi, are excellent singers, 

A few words may be added to this picture from other sources. 
Salieri's dutie^s being now confined to the sacred music of the 
Imperial Chapel, SUssmavr being far gone in the consumption 
of which he died on Sept. 16 (of this year — 1803), Conti re- 
taining but the name of orchestral director (he too died the next 
year), Liechtenstein and Weigl were now the conductors of the 
Lnperial Opera; Henneberg and Seyfried held the same posi- 
tion under Schikaneder, as in the old house, so now in the new. 

Schu[)panzigh's summer concerts in the Augarten, and 
Salieri's Widows and Orphans concerts at Christmas and in 
Holy Week, were still the only regular public ones. Vogler had 
come from Prague in December, and Paer, who had removed 
to Dresden at Easter, 180^2, was again in Vienna to produce 
his cantata "Das Heilige Grab," at the Widows and Orphans 
Concert. H was a period of dearth at Vienna in operatic com- 
position. At the Court Theatre Liechtenstein had failed dis- 
astrously; Weigl had not been able to follow up the success 
of his "Corsar," and several years more elapsed before he 
obtainccl a i)ermanent name in musical annals by his "Schweizer- 
familie." Salieri's style had become too familiar to all Vienna 

•Prohftlily the (Quintet for Pianoforte and WiniJ-Instriimenta, Op. 16, published 
in March. IMOi. 

Cherubini's Operas in Vienna 3 

longer to possess the charms of freshness and novelty. In the 
Theater-an-der-Wien, Teyber, Henneberg, Seyfried and others 
composed to order and executed their work satisfactorily enough 
— indeed, sometimes with decided, though fleeting, success. 
But no new work, for some time past, composed to the order 
of either of these theatres, had possessed such qualities as to 
secure a brilliant and prolonged existence. From another source, 
however, a new, fresh and powerful musical sensation had been 
experienced during the past year at both: and in this wise: 

Schikaneder produced, on the 23rd of March, a new opera 
which had been very favorably received at Paris, called "Lodo- 
iska," the music composed "by a certain Cherubini.'* The ap- 
plause gained by this opera induced the Court Theatre to send for 
the score of another opera by the same composer, and prepare it 
for production on the 14th of August, under the title "Die Tage 
der Gefahr." Schikaneder, with his usual shrewdness, mean- 
time was secretly rehearsing the same work, of which Seyfried 
in the beginning of July had made the then long journey to 
Munich to obtain a copy, and on the 13th — one day in advance 
of the rival stage — the musical public was surprised and amused 
to see "announced on the bill-board of the Wiener Theater the 
new opera 'Graf Armand, oder Die zwei unvergessliche Tage.' " 
In the adaptation and performance of the work, each house 
had its points of superiority and of inferiority; on the whole, 
there was little to choose between them; the result in both was 
splendid. The rivalry between the two stages became very 
spirited. The Court Theatre selected from the new composer's 
other works the "Medea," and brought it out November 6. 
Schikaneder followed, December 18, with "Der Bernardsberg" 
("Elise"), "sadly mutilated." Twenty years later Beethoven 
attested the ineffaceable impression which Cherubini's music 
had made upon him. While the music of the new master was 
thus attracting and delighting crowded audiences at both theatres, 
the wealthy and enterprising Baron Braun went to Paris and 
entered into negotiations with Cherubini, which resulted in his 
engagement to compose one or more operas for the Vienna 
stage. Besides this "a large number of new theatrical representa- 
tions from Paris" were expected (in August, 1802) upon the 
Court stage. "Baron Braun, who is expected to return from 
Paris, is bringing the most excellent ballets and operas with 
him, all of which will be performed here most carefully ac- 
cording to the taste of the French." Thus the "Allg. Mus. 

4 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

These facts bring us to the most valuable and interesting notice 
contained in the article from the "Freymiithige" — the earliest record 
of Beethoven's engagementascomposerfortheTheater-an-der-Wien. 

Zitterbarth, the merchant with whose money the new edifice 
had been built and put in successful operation, "who had no 
knowledge of theatrical matters outside of the spoken drama," 
left the stage direction entirely in the hands of Schikaneder. 
In the department of opera that director had a most valuable 
assistant in Sebastian Meier — the second husband of Mozart's 
sister-in-law, Mme. Hofer, the original Queen of Night — a man 
described by Castelli as a moderately gifted bass singer, but 
a very good actor, and of the noblest and most refined taste 
in vocal music, opera as well as oratorio; to whom the praise 
is due of having induced Schikaneder to bring out so many of 
the finest new French works, those of Cherubini included. It 
is probable, therefore, that, just now, when Baron von Braun 
was reported to have secured Cherubini for his theatre, and it 
became necessary to discover some new means of keeping up a 
successful competition, Meier's advice may have had no small 
weight with Schikaneder. Defeat was certain unless the operas, 
attractive mainly from their scenery and grotesque humor, 
founded upon the "Thousand and One Nights" and their thou- 
sand and one imitations, and set to trivial and commonplace 
tunes, should give place to others of a higher order, quickened 
by music more serious, dignified and significant. 

Whether Abbe Georg Joseph Vogler was really a great 
and profound musician, as C. M. von Weber, Gansbacher and 
Meyerbeer held him to be, or a charlatan, was a matter much 
disputed in those days, as the same question in relation to cer- 
tain living composers is in ours. Whatever the truth was, by 
his polemical writings, his extraordinary self-laudation, his high 
tone at the courts whither he had been called, his monster con- 
certs, and his almost unperformable works, he had made him- 
self an object of profound curiosity, to say the least. More- 
over, his music for the drama "Hermann von Staufen, oder 
das Vehmgericht," performed October 3, 1801, at the Theater- 
an-der-Wien (if the same as in "Hermann von Unna," as it doubt- 
less was), was well fitted to awaken confidence in his talents. 
His appearance in Vienna just now was, therefore, a piece of 
good fortune for Schikaneder, who immediately engaged him 
for his theatre. 

Whether Beethoven had talents for operatic composition, 
no one could yet know; but his works had already spread to 

Engaged to Compose an Opera 5 

Paris, London, Edinburgh, and had gained him the fame of 
being the greatest living instrumental composer — Father Haydn 
of course excepted — and this much might be accepted as certain: 
viz., that his name alone, like Vogler's, would secure the theatre 
from pecuniary loss in the production of one work; and, per- 
haps — who could foretell? — he might develop powers in this 
new field which would raise him to the level of even Cherubini! 
He was personally known to Schikaneder, having played in the 
old theatre, and his "Prometheus" music was a success at the 
Court Theatre, So he, too, was engaged. The correspondent 
of the "Zeitung flir die Elegante Welt" positively states, under 
date of June 29th: "Beethoven is composing an opera by Schika- 
neder." There is nothing very improbable in this, though cir- 
cumstances intervened which prevented the execution of such 
a project. Still the fact remains, that Schikaneder — that strange 
compound of wit and absurdity; of poetic instinct and gro- 
tesque humor; of shrewd and profitable enterprise and lavish prod- 
igality; who lived like a prince and died like a pauper — has 
connected his name honorably with both Mozart and Beethoven. 

These plain and obvious facts have been so misrepresented 
as to make it appear that this engagement of Beethoven was 
a grand stroke of policy conceived and executed by Baron von 
Braun, who, at the Theater-an-der-Wien ("newly built and to 
be opened in 1804"), had suddenly become aware of a genius 
and talent, to which, notwithstanding the "Prometheus" music, 
at the Imperial Opera, he had been oblivious during the pre- 
ceding ten years! The date of the transaction is a sufficient 
confutation of this; as also of the notion that the success of 
the "Christus am Olberg" led to his engagement. On the 
contrary, it was his engagement that enabled Beethoven to 
obtain the use of the Theater-an-der-Wien to produce that work 
in a concert to which we now come. 

The "Wiener Zeitung" of Saturday, March 26 and Wed- 
nesday, March 30, 1803, contained the following 


On the 5th (not the 4th) of April, Herr Ludwig van Beethoven 
will produce a new oratorio set to music by him, "Christus am Olberg," 
in the R. I, privil. Theater-an-der-Wien. The other pieces also to 
be performed will be announced on the large bill-board. 

Beethoven must have felt no small confidence in the power 
of his name to awaken the curiosity and interest of the musical 
public, for he "doubled the prices of the first chairs, tripled those 

6 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of the reserved and demanded 12 ducats (instead of 4 florins) 
for each box. But it was his first pubhc appearance as a dra- 
matic vocal composer, and on his posters he had several days be- 
fore announced with much pomp that all the works would be 
of his composition. The result, however, answered his expec- 
tations, "for the concert yielded him 1800 florins." 

The works actually performed were the first and second 
Symphonies, the Pianoforte Concerto in C minor and "Christus 
am Olberg"; some others, according to Ries, were intended, 
but, owing to the length of the concert, which began at the early 
hour of six, were omitted in the performance. As no copy of 
the printed programme has been discovered, there is no means 
of deciding what these pieces were; but the "Adelaide," the 
Scena et Aria "Ah, perfido!" and the trio "Tremate, empj, 
tremate," suggest themselves, as vocal pieces well fitted to break 
the monotony of such a mass of orchestral music. It seems 
strange — knowing as we do Beethoven's vast talent for impro- 
visation — that no extempore performance is reported. 

"The symphonies and concertos," says Seyfried, "which 
Beethoven produced for the first time (1803 and 1808) for his benefit 
at the Theater-an-der-Wien, the oratorio, and the opera, I re- 
hearsed according to his instructions with the singers, conducted 
all the orchestral rehearsals and personally conducted the per- 
formance. ^ 

The final general rehearsal was held in the theatre on the 
day of performance, Tuesday, April 5. On that morning, as 
was often the case when Beethoven needed assistance in his 
labors, young Ries was called to him early — about 5 o'clock. 
"I found him in bed," says Ries, "writing on separate sheets 
of paper. To my question what it was he answered, 'Trom- 
bones.' At the concert the trombone parts were played from 
these sheets. Had the copyist forgotten to copy these parts? 
Were they an afterthought? I was too young at the time to 
observe the artistic interest of the incident; but probably the 
trombones were an afterthought, as Beethoven might as easily 
have had the vncopied parts as the copied.'' The correspondent 
of the "Zeitung fiir die Elegante Welt" renders a probable solu- 
tion of Ries's doubt easy. He found the music to the "Christus'* 
to be "on the whole good, and there are a few admirable passages, 
an air of the Seraph with trombone accompaniment in par- 
ticular being of admirable efl'ect." Beethoven had probably 
found the aria "Erzittre, Erde" to fail of its intended effect, 

'"Cacilia." IX, p. ^19. 

Production of "The Mount of Olives" 7 

and added the trombone on the morning of the final rehearsal, 
to be retained or not as should prove advisable upon trial. ^ Ries 

The rehearsal began at 8 o'clock in the morning. It was a ter- 
rible rehearsal, and at half after 2 everybody was exhausted and more 
or less dissatisfied. Prince Karl Lichnowsky, who attended the rehearsal 
from the beginning, had sent for bread and butter, cold meat and wine 
in large baskets. He pleasantly asked all to help themselves and this 
was done with both hands, the result being that good nature was re- 
stored again. Then the Prince requested that the oratorio be rehearsed 
once more from the beginning, so that it might go well in the evening 
and Beethoven's first work in this genre be worthily presented. And 
so the rehearsal began again. 

Seyfried in the article above quoted gives a reminiscence 
of this concert : 

At the performance of the Concerto he asked me to turn the pages 
for him; but — heaven help me! — that was easier said than done. I 
saw almost nothing but empty leaves; at the most on one page or the 
other a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible to me scribbled 
down to serve as clues for him; for he played nearly all of the solo part 
from memory, since, as was so often the case, he had not had time to 
put it all on paper.^ He gave me a secret glance whenever he was 
at the end of one of the invisible passages and my scarcely concealable 
anxiety not to miss the decisive moment amused him greatly and he 
laughed heartily at the jovial supper which we ate afterwards. 

The impression made on reading the few contemporary 
notices of this concert is that the new works produced were, 
on the whole, coldly received. The short report (by Kotzebue?) 
in the "Freymiithige" said: 

Even our doughty Beethofen, whose oratorio "Christus am 01- 
berg" was performed for the first time at surburban Theater-an-der- 
Wien, was not altogether fortunate, and despite the efforts of his 
many admirers was unable to achieve really marked approbation. 
True, the two symphonies and single passages in the oratorio were 
voted very beautiful, but the work in its entirety was too long, too 
artificial in structure and lacking expressiveness, especially in the 
vocal parts. The text, by F. X. Huber, seemed to have been as super- 
ficially written as the music. But the concert brought 1800 florins 
to Beethofen and he, as well as Abbe Vogler, has been engaged for the 
theatre. He is to write one opera, Vogler three; for this they are to 
receive 10 per cent, of the receipts at the first ten performances, besides 
free lodgings. 

iThe English editor of this biography found trombone parts written out by Beet- 
hoven among Mr. Thayer's posthumous papers; they belonged to the Trio in the 
Scherzo of the Ninth Symphony, and Beethoven's instructions to the copyist where 
to introduce them in the score plainly showed that they were an afterthought. 

^It was not the case this time, for the manuscript of this Concerto bears in the 
composer's hand the date "1800." 

8 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The writer in the "Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung" alone 
speaks of the "Christus" as having been received with **extra- 
ordinary approval." Three months afterwards another cor- 
respondent flatly contradicts this: "In the interest of truth," 
he writes, "I am obliged to contradict a report in the 'Musi- 
kalische Zeitung'; Beethoven's cantata did not please." To 
this Schindler remarks: "Even the composer agreed with this 
to this extent — that in later years he unhesitatingly declared that 
it had been a mistake to treat the part of Christ in the modern 
vocal style. The abandonment of the work after the first per- 
formance, as well as its tardy appearance in print (about 1810), 
permit us to conclude that the author was not particularly sat- 
isfied with the manner in which he had solved the problem, and 
that he probably made material changes in the music." The 
"Wiener Zeitung" of July 30, 1803, gives all the comment neces- 
sary on the "abandonment" and probable changes in the work, 
by announcing that "the favorable reception" of the oratorio 
had induced the Society of Amateur Concerts to resolve to repeat 
it on August 4. Moreover, Sebastian Meier's concert of March 
27, 1804, opened with the second Symphony of Beethoven and 
closed with "Christus am Olberg," being its fourth perform- 
ance in one year.^ 

A few days after this public appearance we have a sight 
of Beethoven again in private life. Dr. Joh. Th. Helm, the 
famous physician and professor in Prague, then a young man 
just of the composer's age (he was born December 11, 1770), 
accompanied Count Prichnowsky on a visit to Vienna. On 
the morning of the 16th of April these two gentlemen met Beet- 
hoven in the street, who, knowing the Count, invited them to 
Schuppanzigli's, "where some of his pianoforte sonatas which 
Kleinhals had transcribed as string quartets were to be rehearsed. 
We met," writes Held, in his manuscript autobiography (the 
citations were communicated to this work by Dr. Edmund 
Schebek of Prague) 

a number of the best musicians gathered together, such as the violin- 
ists Krumhhol?:, Moser (of Berlin), the nuihitto Bridgethauer, who 
in London had been in the service of the then Prince of Wales, also 
a Ilcrr Schreiherand the Xi years' old- Kraft who played second. Even 
then Bcethovcrrs muse* transjjorted me to higher regions, and the 
desire of all of these artists to have our musical director Wenzel 

'In a Convcrsfttion Hook from Uic year lSi.5, Hnlz writes that till thon "Christus 
am Olb«;rj?" had always drawn full houses, hut that the court official in charge of 
mujiral affairs (Ifnfmu.tikgrnf) had not allowod further performances to be given. 

'Anton Kraft waa lllj years old at the time. 

Bridgetower and the "Kreutzer Sonata" 9 

Praupner in Vienna confirmed me in my opinion of the excellence of 
his conducting. Since then I have often met Beethoven at concerts. 
His piquant conceits modified the gloominess, I might say the lugu- 
briousness, of his countenance. His criticisms were very keen, as I 
learned most clearly at concerts of the harpist Nadermann of Saxony 
and Mara, who was already getting along in years. 

The "Bridgethauer," mentioned by Held — whose incorrect 
writing of the name conveys to the German its correct pronun- 
ciation — was the "American ship captain who associated much 
with Beethoven" mentioned by Schindler and his copyists. 

George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower — a bright mulatto 
then 24 years old, son of an African father and German or 
Polish mother, an applauded public violinist in London at the 
age of ten years, and long in the service, as musician, of the Prince 
of Wales, afterwards George IV — was never in America and knew 
as much probably of a ship and the science of navigation as 
ordinary shipmasters do of the violin and the mysteries of musical 
counterpoint. In 1802 he obtained leave of absence to visit 
his mother in Dresden and to use the waters of Teplitz and 
Carlsbad, which leave was prolonged that he might spend a 
few months in Vienna. His playing in public and private at 
Dresden had secured him such favorable letters of introduc- 
tion as gained him a most brilliant reception in the highest 
musical circles of the Austrian capital, where he arrived a few 
days before Held met him at Schuppanzigh's. Beethoven, 
to whom he was introduced by Prince Lichnowsky, readily gave 
him aid in a public concert. The date of the concert has not 
been determined precisely; it was probably on May 24th. It 
has an interest on account of Beethoven's connection with it; 
for the day of the concert was the date of the completion and 
performance of the "Kreutzer" Sonata. 

The famous Sonata in A minor. Op. 47, with concertante violin, 
dedicated to Rudolph Kreutzer in Paris [says Ries on page 82 of the 
"Notizen"], wa,s originally composed by Beethoven for Bridgetower, 
an English artist. Here things did not go much better (Ries is refer- 
ring to the tardiness of the composition of the horn sonata which Beet- 
hoven wrote for Punto), although a large part of the first Allegro was 
ready at an early date. Bridgetower pressed him greatly because 
the date of his concert had been set and he wanted to study his part. 
One morning Beethoven summoned me at half after 4 o'clock and said: 
"Copy the violin part of the first Allegro quickly." (His ordinary copy- 
ist was otherwise engaged.) The pianoforte part was noted down only 
here and there in parts. Bridgetower had to play the marvellously 
beautiful theme and variations in F from Beethoven's manuscript 
at the concert in the Augarten at 8 o'clock in the morning because 
there was no time to copy it. The final Allegro, however, was beau- 


The Life of Ludwig vax Beethoven 

tifully written, since it originally belonged to the Sonata in A major 
(Op. 30), which is dedicated to Czar Alexander. In its place Beet- 
hoven, thinking it too brilliant for the A major Sonata, put the vari- 
ations which now form the finale. ^ 

Brid^etower was thoughtful enough to leave in his copy 

of tlie Sonata a note upon that first performance of it, as follows: 

Relative to Beethoven's Op. 47. 
When I accompanied him in this Sonata-Concertante at Wien, 
at the repetition of the first part of the Presto, I imitated the flight, 
at the 18th bar, of the pianoforte of this movement thus: 

l<na volta ^^f. F^^S.^ _^ ^ ^g ^ 

He jumped up, embraced me, saying: "Noch cinmal, mein lieber 
Bursch!" ("Once again, my dear boy!") Then he held the open 
pedal during this flight, the chord of C as at the ninth bar. 

Beethoven's expression in the Andante was so chaste, which 
always characterized the performance of all his slow viovements, that 
it was unanimously hailed to be repeated twice, 

George Polgreen Bridgetower. 

Bridgetower was mentioned in a letter from Beethoven 
to Baron von Wetzlar, in this language, under date May 18: 

Although we have never addressed each other I do not hesitate 
to recommend to you the bearer, JVIr. Brislulower, a very capable 
virtuoso who has a comi)lete command of his instrument. 

Besides his concertos he plays quartets admirably, I greatly wish that 
you make him known to otliers. He has commended himself favorably 
to Lobkowitz and Fries and all other eminent lovers (of music). 

I think it would be not at all a l)ad idea if you were to take him 
for an <'vcning to Theresa Schonfeld, where I know many friends as- 
semble and at your house. T know that you will thank me for having 
made you acquainted with him. 

'Tlif follDwitif; oliscrvntion nn ttio sonata l>y rzcrny is also intorosting: "In the 
Sonata wrillt-n for nriilK<'t<<Wfr and dcdic atid to Knntzir, Op. 47 (of which the first 
movement wn-i romposi-d in four days and the other two [?] added from a sonata 
already completed), the eoncluding passage 

s^ r- if! If" >p i r /yr , F i ^^ 


i.t said to Im" Itorrowi-d from a picfp of Krent/.er's already in print. I had this assur- 
ance immediately after the puMication of tlie Hi-etlinven Sonata from a French musi- 
cian nHO.5). It would \m' worth while to in vesti^;iite the matter. Perhaps therein 
lies the rra.*on of il.s c|<-dication." .\nd further: "Mridiri-towcr was a muhilto and 
played very extravagantly; when he played the sonata with Hccthoven it was laughed 

The Career of Bridgetower , 11 

Bridgetower, when advanced in years, talking with Mr. 
Thirlw^all about Beethoven, told him that at the time the Sonata, 
Op. 47, was composed, he and the composer were constant com- 
panions, and that the first copy bore a dedication to him; but 
before he departed from Vienna they had a quarrel about a 
girl, and Beethoven then dedicated the work to Rudolph 
Kreutzer. ^ 

^Letters and other documents, some of which were placed in Mr. Thayer's hands 
by Samuel Appleby, Esq., relative to Bridgetower, are printed in an appendix to Vol. 
II of the first German edition of this biography and as foot-notes and otherwise in Vol. 
III. What is essential in the memoranda and documents can be put into a much smaller 
compass. The subscription for the concert amounted to 1140 florins and the list was 
headed by the English envoy. Bridgetower's father was known in England as the 
"Abyssinian Prince," and Mr. Thayer speculates whether the title was genuine or 
but a sobriquet given to him suggested by Dr. Johnson's "Rasselas"; but it will appear 
presently that he was called an "African Prince," not an Abyssinian; how his father got 
to Biala in Poland, where Bridgetower was born, or whether his mother was a German 
or a Pole, remains a mystery which has not yet been cleared up. The first memo- 
randum of information in Mr. Thayer's collection was in the shape of an excerpt from 
a communication from London written by Abt Vogler and printed in Bossier's "Musi- 
kalische Correspondenz" on July 7, 1790. Abt Vogler's letter bears date London, 
June 6, 1790; in it he said: 

"Last Wednesday, June 2nd, I attended a concert here in Hanover Square where 
two young heroes contested with each other on the violin and all music-lovers and 
cognoscenti found most agreeable entertainment for three hours. The two played 
concertos alternately and both won the warmest applause. The quartet, however, 
which was played by young virtuosi whose combined ages did not reach 40 years, 
by virtue of a fine, cheerful, witty and yet harmonious performance exceeded all the 
expectations that experienced players could gratify. The first violin was played by 
Clement of Vienna, eight and one-half, the second by Bridgetower of Africa, ten years 
of age." 

The Prince of Wales, afterwards King George IV, took the youth into his ser- 
vice as first violinist in the Pavilion at Brighton. The next piece of information 
which reached Thayer told of Bridgetower's first concert in Dresden on July 24, 1802. 
A second concert was given on March 18, 1803, at which a brother of the violinist, 
who played the violoncello, took part. A letter from Friedrich Lindemann, a member 
of the Prince of Wales's orchestra, dated January 14, 1803, contained the informa- 
tion that a letter of Bridgetower's forwarded to Brighton by a certain "Billy" Cole had 
been placed in the hands of the Prince, who read it at once, appeared to be highly sat- 
isfied, and granted the writer's request to be permitted to go to Vienna. Thayer did 
not learn the dates of Bridgetower's birth or death, but Dr. Riemann in his revision of 
the second Volume says that he died "between 1840 and 1850." This is an error. 

In the May number for 1908 of "The Musical Times" (London) Mr. F. G. Edwards 
printed the results of an investigation into Bridgetower's life, and provided some new 
and definite information from a collection of letters and documents in the possession 
of Arthur F. Hill, F.S.A. From this article it appears that Bridgetower was a pupil 
of Barthelemon, Giornovichi, Thomas Attwood and — as he claimed — Haydn. If he 
really was a pupil of Haydn, he must, as Mr. Edwards pointed out, have been in the 
neighborhood of Vienna before he had completed his tenth year. To this the present 
writer adds that if he had been a pupil of Haydn's the latter would not have omitted 
his name in the list of names which he made of the London musicians on his first visit 
to the English metropolis, for he included "Clement petit," who was then between 
ten and eleven years old. (See, "Music and Manners in the Classical Period," by H. E. 
Krehbiel, p. 77.) He made his first public appearance in Paris at a Concert Spirituel on 
April 13, 1789. In the announcement of this concert he was described as "Mr. Georges 
Bridgetower, ne aux colonies anglaises, age de 9 ans." (Yet his passport issued by the police 
authorities, gives Biala in Poland as his birthplace.) A concert for his benefit was given on 
May 27, 1789, at the Salle du Pantheon. Soon thereafter he crossed the channel and, if 
his father is to be believed, he played for the first time in England before George III 
and his court at Windsor Castle. Next he appears at Bath, the "Morning Post" of 

1^2 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

WTien Beethoven removed from the house "am Peter" to 
the theatre building, he took his brother Karl (Kaspar) to live 

November io, 1789, reporting "Amongst those added to the Sunday promenade were 
the African Prince in the Turkish attire. The son of this African Prince has been 
celebrated as a very accomplished musician." The same newspaper, on December 
8, a fortnight later, tells of a concert given on the Saturday morning immediately 
preceding the publication which was "more crowded and splendid than has ever been 
known at this place, upwards of 550 people being present. Rauzzini was enrap- 
tured, and declared that he had never heard such execution before, even from his friend 
La Motte, who was, he thought, much inferior to this wonderful boy. The father 
was in the gallery, and so affected by the applause bestowed on his son, that tears 
of pleasure and gratitude flowed in profusion." 

It would seem as if the modern methods of advertising musical artists is far 
behind the old in the impudent display of charlantanry. The plain "Georges" of 
the first Paris concert, the later George Polgreen, in the announcement of his first 
concert in Bath becomes George Augustus Frederick. Why.' The Christian name 
of the Prince of Wales was George Augustus Frederick. In this announcement he 
is described as "a youth of Ten Years old. Pupil of the celebrated H.\tdn." The 
newspapers were amiable or gullible, or both. 

The lad played a concerto between "the 2d and 3d Acts" of "The Messiah" 
at a performance of Handel's oratorio given for the benefit of Rauzzini on Christmas 
eve of the same year. He gave a concert in Bristol on December 18, 1789, leading 
the band "with the coolness and spirit of a Cramer to the astonishment and delight 
of all present," and on New Year's day, 1790. Next he went to London, where, at 
Drury Lane Theatre on February 19, 1790, he played a solo at a performance of "The 
Messiah. ' Referring to the Lenten concerts of that year, Parke says in his "Musical 
Memoirs": "Concertos were performed on the oboe by me and on the violin for the 
first time by Master Bridgetower, son of an African Prince, who was attended by his 
father habited in the costume of his country." The concert described by Abt Vogler 
was under the patronage of the Prince of Wales. At the Handel Commemoration 
of 1791 in Westminster Abbey, Bridgetower and Hummel, in scarlet coals, sat on either 
side of Joah Bates at the organ and pulled out the stops for him. He played in the 
orchestra at the Haydn-Salomon concerts in 1791, at several of the Lenten concerts 
in the King's Theatre in 179i, and on May 28 he performed a concerto by Viotti at 
Mr. Bartheiemon's concert, the announcement stating that "Dr. Haydn will preside 
at the pianoforte. ' (Haydn's note-book contains no mention of the concert, which 
would in likelihood have been the case had Bridgetower ever been his pupil.) He 
was plainly on terms of intimacy with such musicians as Viotti, Francis Cramer, 
Attwood, and later of Samuel Wesley, who WTote of him in a tone of enthusiastic 

In 1S02, being then in the Prince of Wales's band at Brighton, he obtained 
leave, as Thayer notes, to \-isit Dresden and take the baths at Teplitz and Carlsbad; 
eventually, too. as we have seen, to visit Vienna. The passport issued to him in Vienna 
for his return to London described him as "a musician, native of Poland, aged 24 years, 
medium height, clean shaven, dark brown hair, brown eyes and straight, rather broad 
nose." He .seems to have become a resident of London and to have continued in favor 
with mutical and othiT notables for a considerable space, for Dr. Crotch asks his aid 
in se< uriiig tin- patronage of the Prince Regent for a concert. 

He re<fived the degree of Bachelor of Music, on presentation of the usual exer- 
ci.*e, from the I'nivcrsily of Cambridge in 1811. There follow some years during 
which his liff remains ob.srure, but in which he lived on the Continent. He was in 
Romo in ISi.'t and lSi7; bark in London in 1S4.S, when Vincent Novello sent him 
a Idler which he .signed "your much oliliged old pupil and professional admirer." 
John Klla nxt him in Vimna in 1845, but he was again in London in 1846, and there 
he died, apparently friendless and in poverty, on February 29. 1S60. In the registry 
of his death, disco verr<l by Mr. Edwards, his age is set down as 78 years; but he must 
have Iwen eighty if ho was nine when he played at the first concert in Paris in 1789. 
He waa born either in 1779 or 17H0. He published some pianoforte studies in 1812 
uncler the title "Diafonira .Xrmonica" whi< h. witli a few other printed pieces, are to 
be founcl in the British .Museum. .\ ballad entitled "Henry," which was "Sung by Feron and dedicated with permi.ssion to Her Royal llighness the Princess of 
Woles," was evidently compo.sed in 1810. 

Summer Lodgings at Dobling 13 

with him,i as twenty years later he gave a room to his factotum 
Schindler. This change of lodgings took place, according to 
Seyfried, before the concert of April 5— which is confirmed 
by the brother's new address being contained in the "Staats- 
Schematismus" for 1803 — that annual publication being usually 
ready for distribution in April. ^ At the beginning of the warm 
season Beethoven, as was his annual custom, appears to have 
passed some weeks in Baden to refresh himself and revive his 
energies after the irregular, exciting and fatiguing city life of 
the winter, before retiring to the summer lodgings, whose posi- 
tion he describes in a note to Ries ("Notizen," p. 128) as "in 
Oberdobling No. 4, the street to the left where you go down 
the mountain to Heiligenstadt." 

The Herrengasse is still "die Strasse links" at the extremity 
of the village, as it was then; but the multiplication of houses 
and the change in their numbers render it uncertain which 
in those days bore the number 4. At all events it had, in 1803, 
gardens, vineyards or green fields both in front and rear. True, 
it was half an hour's walk farther than from Heiligenstadt to 
the scenes in which he had composed the second Symphony, 
the preceding summer; but, to compensate for this, it was so 
much nearer the city — was in the more immediate vicinity of 
that arm of the Danube called the "Canal" — and almost under 
its windows was the gorge of the Krottenbach, which separates 
Dobling from Heiligenstadt, and which, as it extends inland 
from the river, spreads into a fine vale, then very solitary and 
still very beautiful. This was the house, this the summer, 
and these the scenes, in which the composer wrought out the 

i"Hr. Karl v. Beethoven lives auf-der-Wien 26." "Staats-Schematismus," 1803, 
p. 150; and ibid. 1804, p. 154. "Hr. Ludwig van Beethofen, auf-der-Wien 26." — See 
"Auskunftsbuch," 1804, p. 204. "An-der-Wien, No. 26. Bartoloma Zitterbarth, K. K. 
Prin. Schauspielhaus." — See "Vollstandiges Verzeichniss alier .... der numerirten 
Hauser, deren Eigenthiimer," etc., etc., Wien, 1804, p. 133. 

^A letter printed in 1909 by Leopold Schmidt in his collection from the archives 
of the Simrock firm, confirms the change of lodgings to the theatre and also brother 
Karl's activity as correspondent and arranger. In it he offers a grand Sonata for 
violin, to appear simultaneously in London, Leipsic, Vienna and Bonn, for 30 florins; 
a grand Symphony for 400 florins. When the "Kreutzer" Sonata was published (it 
was announced by Trag on May 18, 1805) Karl acknowledged the receipt of a copy 
in a letter to Simrock, adding that all the other publishers sent six copies of the works 
printed by them and asking for the remaining five. Simrock took him to task rather 
sharply for what he considered a piece of presumption, in a letter which he enclosed 
to Ferdinand Ries with the statement that he might read it if he wanted to. "I bought 
the Sonata of Louis van Beethoven," says the indignant publisher, "and in his letter 
concerning it there is not a word about giving him six copies in addition to the fees — 
a matter important enough to have been mentioned; I was under the impression that 
Louis van Beethoven composed his own works; what I am certain of is that I have 
fully complied with all the conditions of the contract and am indebted to nobody." 
In the note to Ries he calls Karl's conduct "impertinent and deserving of a harsher 
treatment, for Herr Karl seems to me incorrigible." 

14 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

conceptions that during the past five years had been assuming 
form and consistency in his mind, to which Bernadotte may 
have given the original impulse, and which we know as the 
"Heroic Symphony."^ 

Let us turn to Stephan von Breuning and a new friend or 
two. Archduke Karl, by a commission dated January 9, 1801, 
had been made Chief of the "Staats- und Konferenzial-Departe- 
ment fiir das Kriegs- und Marine-Wesen," and retained the 
position still, notwithstanding his assumption of the functions 
of Hoch- und Deutsch-Meister. He undertook to introduce a 
wide-reaching reform at the War Department, which demanded 
an increase in the number of Secretaries and scriveners. Stephan 
von Breuning is the second in the list of five appointed in 1804, 
Ignatz von Gleichenstein the fifth. It is believed, that the x\rchduke 
had discovered the fine business talents, the zeal in the discharge 
of duty and the perfect trustworthiness of Breuning at the Teu- 
tonic House, and that at his special invitation the young man 
this year exchanged the service of the Order for that of the State. 
There is abundant evidence, that the young Rhinelanders then 
in Vienna were bound to each other by more than the usual 
ties: most of them were fugitives from French tyranny, and 
lial)le to conscription if found in the places of their birth, though 
this was not the case with Breuning. There was, in addition 
to the ordinary feeling of nationality, a common sense of exile 
to unite them. Between Breuning and Gleichenstein therefore 
— two amia})Ie and talented young men thus thrown into daily 
intercourse — an immediate and warm friendship would natur- 
ally spring up; and an introduction of the latter to Breuning's 
friend Beethoven would inevitably follow, in case they had not 
known each other in the old Bonn days. 

I Another young Rhinelander, to whom Beethoven became 
much attached, and who returned the kindness with warm 
affection for him jxTsonally and a boundless admiration for his 
genius, became known to the composer also just at this time. 
WilHbrord Joseph Miihler, a native of Coblentz — who died in 
1800, at the age of 8*2 years, as pensioned Court Secretary — 
was a man of remarkably varied artistic talents, by which, how- 
ever, since he eiilfivated them only as a dilettante and without 

'Thftyer ronsiderrd the "first street to the loft" to be the Hcrrongasse. J. Bock 
(Gnft<l<-(mu) arRiH'd in "Die Miisik." Vol. II, No. 0, that tlu' house in wliirh the "Eroica" 
Vfos ri>nipos«Ml wa.s the pn-.^t-nt No. 9i of Dol>liii>» unfl hore the oUl No. 
4 of the Hofzeile. In 1SJ)0 the owner of the house and the Miinnergesangsverein 
of Dcihling placed a, tablet on thi- "Kroica" house, whose occupants "were still in pos- 
session of a tradition concerning Heethoven's occupation of it." So says Dr. RiemanD. 

Association with W. J. Mahler 15 

confining himself to any one art, he achieved no great distinc- 
tion. He wrote respectable poetry and set it to correct and not 
unpleasing music; sang well enough to be recorded in Boeckh's 
"Merkwiirdigkeiten der Haupt- und Residenz-Stadt Wien" 
(1823) as "amateur singer," and painted sufficiently well to be 
named, on another page of Boeckh, "amateur portrait painter." 
He painted that portrait of the composer, about 1804-5, which 
is still in possession of the Beethoven family, and a second 1814- 
15 — (Mr. Mahler could not recall the precise date) — once owned 
by Prof. Karajan. Several of the portraits now in possession 
of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna are from his 
pencil; but two or three of the very best specimens of his skill 
have been sold to a gentleman in Boston, U.S.A. ^ 

Soon after Beethoven returned from his summer lodgings 
to his apartment in the theatre building, Mahler, who had then 
recently arrived in Vienna, was taken by Breuning thither to 
be introduced. They found him busily at work finishing the 
"Heroic Symphony." After some conversation, at the desire 
of Mahler to hear him play, Beethoven, instead of beginning 
an extempore performance, gave his visitors the finale of the 
new Symphony; but at its close, without a pause, he continued 
in free fantasia for two hours, "during all which time," said Mr. 
Mahler to the present writer, "there was not a measure which 
was faulty, or which did not sound original." He added, that 
one circumstance attracted his particular notice; viz.: "that 
Beethoven played with his hands so very still; wonderful as 
his execution was, there was no tossing of them to and fro, up 
and down; they seemed to glide right and left over the keys, 
the fingers alone doing the work." To Mr. Mahler, as to most 
others who have recorded their impressions of Beethoven's 
improvisations, they were the non plus ultra of the art. 

There was, however, be it noted in passing, a class of good 
musicians, small in number and exceptional in taste, who, pre- 
cisely at this time, had discovered a rival to Beethoven, in this 
his own special field. Thus Gansbacher writes, as cited by 
Frolich in his "Biographic Voglers": 

Sonnleithner gave a musical soiree in honor of Vogler and invited 
Beethoven among others. Vogler improvised at the pianoforte on 
a theme given to him by Beethoven, 4^^ measures long, first an Adagio 
and then fugued. Vogler then gave Beethoven a theme of three meas- 
ures (the scale of C major, alia breve). Beethoven's excellent piano- 
forte playing, combined with an abundance of the most beautiful 

^Th. von Frimmel discusses the Beethoven portraits in his "Neue Beethoven- 
iana," p. 189 et seq., and "Beethoven-Studien," Vol. II (1905). 

16 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

thoughts, surprised me beyond measure, but could not stir up the 
enthusiasm in me which had been inspired by Vogler's learned playing, 
which was beyond parallel in respect of its harmonic and contrapuntal 

An undated note of Beethoven, to Mahler, which belongs 
to a somewhat later period — since its date is not ascertainable 
nor of much importance — may be inserted here, as an intro- 
duction to Mr. Mahler's remarks upon the portrait to which 
it refers: 

I beg of you to return my portrait to me as soon as you have 
made sufficient use of it — if you need it longer I beg of you at least 
to make haste — I have promised the portrait to a lady, a stranger 
who saw it here, that she may hang it in her room during her stay of 
several weeks. Who can withstand such charming importunities, 
as a matter of course a portion of the lovely favors which I shall thus 
gamer will also fall to you. 

To the question what picture is here referred to, Mr. Mahler 
replied in substance: "It was a portrait, which I painted soon 
after coming to Vienna, in which Beethoven is represented, 
at nearly full length, sitting; the left hand rests upon a lyre, 
the right is extended, as if, in a moment of musical enthusiasm, 
he was beating time; in the background is a temple of Apollo. 
Oh! If I could but know what became of the picture!" 

"What!" was the answ^er, to the great satisfaction of the 
old gentleman, "the picture is hanging at this moment in the 
home of Madame van Beethoven, w^idow, in the Josephstadt, 
and I have a copy of it."^ 

The extended right hand — though, like the rest of the pic- 
ture, not very artistically executed — was evidently painted with 
care. It is rather broad for the length, is muscular and nervous, 
as the hand of a great pianist necessarily grows through much 
practice; but, on the whole, is neatly formed and well propor- 
tioned. Anatomically, it corresponds so perfectly with all 
the authentic descriptions of Beethoven's person, that this alone 
proves it to have been copied from nature and not drawn after 
the painter's fancy. Wlioever saw a long, delicate hand with 
fingers excpiisitely tapering, like Mendelssohn's, joined to the 
short stout muscular figure of a Beethoven or a Schubert.'* 

A few of Beethoven's letters belonging to this period must 
be introduced here. The first, dated September 22, 1803, ad- 
dressed to IIofTmeister, is as follows: 

'A ropy of this porfrnit whirh holongod to Thayor is now in the possession of Mrs. 
Jkbez Fox, and is presented in photogravure as frontispiece to the present volume. 

Correspondence with George Thomson 17 

Herewith I declare all the works concerning which you have 
written to me to be your property; the list of them will be copied 
again and sent to you signed by me as your confessed property. I 
also agree to the price, 50 ducats. Does this satisfy you.^* 

Perhaps I may be able to send you instead of the variations for 
violin and violoncello a set of variations for four hands on a song of 
mine with which you will also have to print the poem by Goethe, as 
I wrote these variations in an album as a souvenir and consider them 
better than the others; are you content? 

The transcriptions are not by me, but I revised them and improved 
them in part, therefore do not come along with an announcement that 
I had arranged them, because if you do you will lie, and, I haven't either 
time or patience for such work. Are you agreed.'* 

Now farewell, I can wish you only 'large success, and I would 
willingly give you everything as a gift if it were possible for me thus 
to get through the world, but — consider, everything about me has 
an official appointment and knows what he has to live on, but, good 
God, where at the Imperial Court is there a place for a parvuni talentum 
com ego? 

In this year began the correspondence with Thomson. 
George Thomson, a Scotch gentleman (born March 4, 1757, at 
Limekilns, Dunfermline, died at Leith, February 18, 1851), distin- 
guished himself by tastes and acquirements which led to his 
appointment, when still a young man, as "Secretary to the Board 
of Trustees for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures 
in Scotland" — a Board established at the time of the Union of 
the Kingdoms, 1707 (not the Crowns, 1603), of England and 
Scotland — an office from which he retired upon a full pension 
after a service of fifty years. He was, especially, a promoter 
of all good music and an earnest reviver of ancient Scotch melody. 
As one means of improving the public taste and at the same 
time of giving currency to Scotch national airs, he had published 
sonatas with such melodies for themes, composed for him by 
Pleyel in Paris, and Kozeluch in Vienna — -two instrumental 
composers enjoying then a European reputation now difficult 
to appreciate. The fame of the new composer at Vienna hav- 
ing now reached Edinburgh, Thomson applied to him for works 
of a like character. Only the signature of the reply seems to 
be in Beethoven's hand: 

A Monsieur 
George Thomson, Nr. 28 York Place 

Edinburgh. North Britain 

Vienna le 5. 8^^^ igOS. 
J'ai regu avec bien de plaisir votre lettre du 20 Juillet. Entrant 
volontiers dans vos propositions je dois vous declarer que je suis pret 
de composer pour vous six sonates telles que vous les desirez y intro- 

18 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

duisant meme les airs ecossais d'une maniere laquelle la nation Ecos- 
saise trouvera la plus favorable et le plus d'accord avec le genie de 
ses chansons. Quant au honoraire je crois que trois cent ducats pour 
six sonates ne sera pas trop, vu qu'en Allemagne on me donne autant 
pour pareil nonibre de sonates meme sans accompagnement. 

Je vous previens en meme tems que vous devez accelerer votre 
declaration, par ce qu'on me propose tant d'engagements qu'apres quel- 
que tems je ne saurois peutetre aussitot satisfaire a vos demandes. — 
Je vous prie de me pardonner, que cette reponse est si retardee ce 
qui n'a ete causee que par mon sejour a la campagne et plusieurs 
occupations tres pressantes. — Aimant de preference les airs eccossais 
je me plairai particulierement dans la composition de vos sonates, et 
j'ose avancer que si nos interets s'accorderront sur le honoraire, vous 
serez parfaitement contente. 

Agreez les assurances de mon estime distingue. 

Louis van Beethoven. 

Mr. Thomson's endorsement of this letter is this: 

50 D. 1803. Louis van Beethoven, Vienna, demands 300 ducats 
for composing six Sonatas for me. Replied 8th Nov. that I would give 
no more than 150, taking 3 of the Sonatas when ready and the other 3 
in six months after; giving him leave to publish in Germany oil his own 
account, the day after publication in London. 

The sonatas were never composed. Not long afterwards, 
on OctoV)er ^'-2, Beethoven, enraged at efforts to reprint his works, 
issued the following characteristic fulmination in large type, 
filling an entire page of the journal: 


Herr Carl Zulehner, a reprinter at Ma,yence, has announced an 
edition of all my works for pianoforte and string instruments. I hold 
it to be my duty hereby publicly to inform all friends of music that 
I have not the slightest part in this edition. I should not have offered 
to make a collection of my works, a proceeding which I hold to be 
Iiremature at the best, without first consulting with the publishers and 
caring for the correctness which is wanting in some of the individual 
pul)lications. Mor<*over, I wish to call attention to the fact that the 
illicit edition in ({ucstion can never be complete, inasmuch as some 
new works will soon aj)i)ear in Paris, which Herr Zulehner, as a French 
sul)jrct, will not be permitted to reprint. I shall soon make full an- 
noniicernont of a collection of my works to be made under my super- 
vi.^ion and after a severe revision.' 

'The fniMirntion of a rfimplftc edition of his rompositiona freqiiontly occupied 
the mind of Hccthovcn. In 1S()(J lircilkopf and Hiirtcl tried to get all of IJeethovcn's 
wdrks for piililiration l>y them; it is likely that similar efforts on the part of Viennese 
publishers date hack as far as ISO.S. Later the plan plays a role in the correspondence 
with Probst and Simrork. As late as iHH it was urged by Andreas Strcieher. It 
has alreacly l)een said that Heelhoven at an early date rlesired to make an arrangement 
with a publisher by whi< h he might be relievefi of anxiety about monetary matters. 
He wanted to give all his compositions to one publisher, who should pay him a fixed 

Meissner's Oratorio Text Rejected 19 

Alexander Macco, the painter, after executing a portrait 
of the Queen of Prussia, in 1801, which caused much discussion 
in the public press but secured to him a pension of 100 thalers, 
went from Berlin to Dresden, Prague, and, in the summer of 
1802, to Vienna. Here he became a great admirer of Beethoven, 
both as man and artist, and claimed and enjoyed so much of 
his society as the state of his mind and body would allow him 
to grant to any stranger. Macco remained but a few months 
here and then returned to Prague, whence he wrote the next 
year offering to Beethoven for composition an oratorio text 
by Prof. A. G. Meissner — a name just then well known in musical 
circles because of the publication -of the first volume of the biog- 
raphy of Kapellmeister Naumann. If Meissner had not re- 
moved from Prague to Fulda in 1805, and if Europe had remained 
at peace, perhaps Beethoven might, two or three years later, 
have availed himself of the offer; just now he felt bound 
to decline it, which he did in a letter dated November 2, 1803. 
In it he said: 

I am sorry, too, that I could not be oftener with you in Vienna, 
but there are periods in human life which have to be overcome and 
often they are not looked upon from the right point of view, it appears 
that as a great artist you are not wholly unfamiliar with such, and so 
— I have not, as 1 observe, lost your good will, of which fact I am glad 
because I esteem you highly and wish that I might have such an artist 
in my profession to associate with. Meissner's proposal is very wel- 
come, nothing could be more desirable than to receive such a poem from 
him, who is so highly honored as a writer and who understands musical 
poetry better than any other German author, but at present it is im- 
possible for me to write this oratorio because I am just beginning my 
opera which, together with the performance, may occupy me till Easter 
— if Meissner is not in a hurry to publish his poem I should be glad if 
he were to leave the composition of it to me, and if the poem is not 
completed I wish he would not hurry it, since before or after Easter 
I would come to Prague and let him hear some of my compositions, 
which would make him more familiar with my manner of writing, and 
either — inspire him further — or perhaps, make him stop altogether, etc. 

Was, then, the correspondent of the "Zeitung fiir die 
Elegante Welt" right .^^ Had Beethoven really received one of 
Schikaneder's heroic texts .'^ This much is certain: that in the 
words "because I am just beginning my opera," no reference 
is made to the "Leonore" ("Fidelio"). They may only express 
his expectation of beginning such a work immediately; or they 
may refer to one already begun, of which a fragment has been 
preserved. In Rubric II of the sale catalogue of Beethoven's 
manuscripts and music, No. 67, is a "vocal piece with orchestra. 

20 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

complete, but not entirely orchestrated." It is an operatic 
trio^; the dramatis personae are Poms, Volivia, Sartagones; the 
handwriting is that of this part of the composer's life; and the 
music is the basis of the subsequent grand duet in "Fidelio," 
"O namenlose Freude." The temptation is strong to believe 
that Schikaneder had given Beethoven another "Alexander," 
the scenes laid in India — a supplement to that with which his 
new theatre had been opened two years before. However this 
was, circumstances occurred, which prevented its completion, 
or indeed the composition by Beethoven of any text prepared 
by Schikaneder. 

The compositions which may safely be dated 1803, are few 
in comparison with those of 1802. The works published in the 
course of the year were the two Pianoforte Sonatas, Op. 31, Nos. 
1 and 2 (in Nageli's "Repertoire des Clavecinistes") ; the three 
Violin Sonatas, Op. 30 (Industrie-Comptoir) ; the two sets of 
Variations, Op. 34 and 35 (Breitkopf and Hartel); the seven 
Bagatelles, Op. 33 (Industrie-Comptoir); the Romanza in G 
for Violin, Op. 40 (Hoif meister and Kiihnel) ; the arrangement 
for Pianoforte and Flute (or Violin) Op. 41 of the Serenade (Op. 
25), which was not made by Beethoven but examined by him 
and "corrected in parts" (HofiFmeister and Ktihnel); the two 
Preludes for Pianoforte, Op. 39 (HofiPmeister and Ktihnel); two 
songs, "La Partenza" and "Ich Hebe dich" (Traeg) ; a song, 
"Das Gliick der Freundschaft," Op. 88 (Lbschenkerl in Vienna 
and Simrock in Bonn), of which Nottebohm found a sketch 
amongst the sketches for the "Eroica" Symphony in the book 
used in 1803 and which, therefore, though it may have been 
jHi early work, was probably rewritten in 1803; and the six 
Sacred Songs by Gellert, dedicated to Count Browne (Artaria). 
The two groat works of the year were the "Kreutzer" Sonata 
for Violin and the "Sinfonia Eroica." The title of the former, 
"Sonata per il Pianoforte ed un Violino obligato in uno stilo 
(stile) molto concertante quasi come d'un Concerto," is found 
on the inner side of the last sheet of the sketchbook of 1803 de- 
scribed by Nottebohm. Beethoven wrote the word "brillante" 
after "stilo" but .scratched it out. It is obvious that he wished 
to emphasize the difference between this Sonata and its prede- 
cessors. Siinrork's tardiness in publishing the Sonata annoyed 
Beethoven. He became iinj)atient and wrote to the publisher 
as follows, under date of October 4, 1804: 

'Nottebohm, "Skizrenbuch, etc., 1803," p. 56, says "quartet." 

Kreutzer and His Sonata 21 

Dear, best Herr Simrock, I have been waiting with longing for 
the Sonata which I gave you — but in vain — please write me what the 
condition of affairs is concerning it — whether or not you accepted it 
from me merely as food for moths — or do you wish to obtain a special 
Imperial privilegium in connection with it? — well it seems to me that 
might have been accomplished long ago. — Where in hiding is this slow 
devil — who is to drive out the sonata — you are generally the quick 
devil, are known as Faust once was as being in league with the imp 
of darkness and for this reason you are loved by your comrades; but 
again — where in hiding is your devil — or what kind of a devil is it that 
sits on my sonata and with whom you have a misunderstanding? — Hurry, 
then, and tell me when I shall see the sonata given to the light of day — 
when you have told me the date I will at once send a little note to 
Kreutzer, which you will please be kind enough to enclose when you 
send a copy (as you in any event will send your copies to Paris or even, 
perhaps, have them printed there) — this Kreutzer is a dear, good fellow 
who during his stay here' gave me much pleasure. I prefer his un- 
assuming manner and unaffectedness to all the Exterieur or interieur 
of all the virtuosi — as the sonata is written for a thoroughly capable 
violinist, the dedication to him is all the more appropriate — although 
we correspond with each other (i.e., a letter from me once a year) — • 
I hope he will not have learned anything about it. . . . 

As a proof of the growing appreciation of Beethoven in 
foreign lands it may be remarked here that in the summer of 
1803 he received an Erard pianoforte as a gift from the celebrated 
Parisian maker. The instrument belongs to the museum at 
Linz and used to bear an inscription, on the authority, of Beet- 
hoven's brother Johann, that it was given to the composer by 
the city of Paris in 1804. The archives of the Erard firm show, 
however, that on the 18th of Thermidor, in the Xlth year 
of the Republic (1803), Sebastien Erard made a present of "un 
piano forme clavecin" to Ludwig van Beethoven in Vienna. 

^Kreutzer came to Vienna with Bernadotte in 1789. 

Chapter II 

The Year 1804— The "Sinfonia Eroica"— Beethoven and Breu- 
ning — The "Waldstein" Sonata — Sonnleithner, Treitschke 
and Gaveaux — "Fideho" Begun — Beethoven's Popularitj^ 

DT7RIXG the winter 1803-04 negotiations were in progress 
the result of which put an end for the present to Beet- 
hoven's operatic aspirations. Let Treitschke, a personal 
actor in the scenes, explain :i 

On February 24, 1801, the first performance of "Die Zauber- 
flote" took place in the Royal Imperial Court Theatre beside the Karnth- 
nerthor. Orchestra and chorus as well as the representatives of Sarastro 
(Weinmliller), the Queen of Night (Mme. Rosenbaum), Pamina (De- 
moiselle Saal) and the Moor (Lippert) were much better than before. 
It remained throughout the year the only admired German opera. 
The loss of large receipts and the circumstance that many readings 
were changed, the dialogue shortened and the name of the author 
omitted from all mention, angered S. (Schikaneder) greatly. He did 
not hesitate to give free vent to his gall, and to parody some of the 
vulnerable passages in the performance. Thus the change of costume 
accompanying the metamorphosis of the old woman into Papagena 
seldom succeeded. Schikaneder, when he repeated the opera at his 
theatre, sent a couple of tailors on to the stage who slowly accomplished 
the disrobing, etc. These incidents would be trifles had they not been 
followed by such significant consequences; for from that time dated 
the hatred and jealousy which existed between the German operas 
of the two theatres, which alternately persecuted every novelty and 
ended in Baron von Braun, then manager of the Court Theatre, pur- 
chasing the Theater-an-der-Wien in 1804, by which act everything 
came under the staff of a single shepherd but never became a single 

Zittcrbarth harl, some months before, purchased of Schi- 
kaneder all his rights in the i)roj)crty, paying him 100,000 florins 
for the j)rivik'gium alone; and, therefore, being absolute master, 
"had permitted a dicker down to the sum of 1,060,000 florins 
Vienna standard. . . . The contract was signed on February 

•"Orpheus," 1841, p. 248. 
[ 22 1 

Clementi Comes to Vienna 23 

11th and on the 16th the Theater-an-der-Wien under the new 
arrangement was opened with Mehul's opera 'Ariodante.' "^ 

Zitterbarth had retained Schikaneder as director; but now 
Baron Braun dismissed him, and the Secretary of the Court 
Theatres, Joseph von Sonnleithner, for the present acted in 
that capacity. 

The sale of the theatre made void the contracts with Vogler 
and Beethoven, except as to the first of Vogler's three operas, 
"Samori" (text by Huber), which being ready was put in rehearsal 
and produced May 7th. 

It was no time for Baron Braun, with three theatres on 
his hands, to make new contracts with composers, until the 
reins were fairly in his grasp, and the affairs of the new purchase 
brought into order and in condition to work smoothly; nor was 
there any necessity of haste; the repertory was so well supplied, 
that the list of new pieces for the year reached the number of 
forty-three, of which eighteen were operas or Singspiele. So 
Beethoven, who had already occupied the free lodgings in 
the theatre building for the year which his contract with Zitter- 
barth and Schikaneder granted him, was compelled to move. 
Stephan von Breuning even then lived in the house in which 
in 1827 he died. It was the large pile of building belonging to 
the Esterhazy estates, known as "das rothe Haus," which stood 
at a right angle to the Schwarzspanier house and church, and 
fronted upon the open space where now stands the new Votiv- 
Kirche. Here also Beethoven now took apartments. ^ 

It is worth noting, that this was the year — October, 1803 
to October, 1804 — of C. M. von Weber's first visit to Vienna, 
and of his studies under Vogler. He was then but eighteen 
years old and "the delicate little man" made no very favorable 
impression upon Beethoven. But at a later period, when Weber's 
noble dramatic talent became developed and known, no former 
prejudice prevented the great symphonist's due appreciation 
and hearty acknowledgment of it. 

Among the noted strangers who came to Vienna this spring 
was Clementi. 

"He sent word to Beethoven that he would like to see him." 
"Clementi will wait a long time before Beethoven goes to him," 
was the reply. Thus Czerny. 

When he came (says Ries) Beethoven wanted to go to him 
at once, but his brother put it into his head that Clementi ought to 

lAllg. Mus. Zeit. XXIV, p. 320. 

'But Ries says that Beethoven hired these lodgings besides those in the theatre. 

24 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

make the first visit. Though much older Clementi would probably 
have done so had not gossip begun to concern itself with the matter. 
Thus it came about that Clementi was in Vienna a long time without 
knowing Beethoven except by sight. Often we dined at the same table 
in the Swan, Clementi with his pupil Klengel and Beethoven with me; 
all knew each other but no one spoke to the other, or confined himself 
to a greeting. The two pupils had to imitate their masters, because 
they feared they would otherwise lose their lessons. This would surely 
have been the case with me because there was no possibility of a middle- 
way with Beethoven. ("Notizen," p. 101.) 

Early in the Spring a fair copy of the "Sinfonia Eroica" had 
been made to be forwarded to Paris through the French embassy, 
as Moritz Lichnowsky informed Schindler. 

In this symphony (says Ries) Beethoven had Buonaparte in his 
mind, but as he was when he was First Consul. Beethoven esteemed 
him greatly at the time and likened him to the greatest Roman consuls. 
I as well as several of his more intimate friends saw a copy of the score 
lying upon his table, with the word "Buonaparte" at the extreme top 
of the title-page and at the extreme bottom "Luigi van Beethoven," 
but not another word. Whether, and with what the space between 
was to be filled out, I do not know. I was the first to bring him the 
intelligence that Buonaparte had proclaimed himself emperor, where- 
upon he flew into a rage and cried out: "Is then he, too, nothing more 
than an ordinary human being.' Now he, too, will trample on all the 
rights of man and indulge only his ambition. He will exalt himself 
above all others, become a tyrant!" Beethoven went to the table, 
took hold of the title-page by the top, tore it in two and threw it on 
the floor. The first page was rewritten and only then did the symphony 
receive the title: "Sinfonia eroica." 

There can be no mistake in this; for Count Moritz Lich- 
nowsky, who happened to be with Beethoven when Ries brought 
the oflFensive news, described the scene to Schindler years before 
the publication of the "Notizen," 

The Acts of the French Tribunate and Senate, which ele- 
vated the First Consul to the dignity of Emperor, are dated 
May 3, 4, and 17. Napoleon's assumption of the crown occurred 
on the 18tli and the solemn proclamation was issued on the 20th. 
Even in those days, news of so important an event would not 
have required ten days to reach Vienna. At the very latest, 
then, a fair ropy of the "Sinfonia Eroica," was complete early 
in ^^ay, 1804. That it was a copy, the two credible witnesses, 
Ries and Lichnowsky, attest. Beethoven's own score — pur- 
chaser! at the sale in 1S>27, for 3 fl. 10 kr., Vienna standard 
(less than .S'j francs), by the Vienna composer Hr. Joseph Des- 
sauer — could not have been the one referred to above. It is, 

The "Eroica" and Napoleon 25 

from beginning to end, disfigured by erasures and corrections, 
and the title-page could never have answered to Ries' descrip- 
tion. It is this: " 

(At the top:) N. B. 1. Cues for the other instruments are to be 
written into the first vioHn part. 

Sinfonia Grande 
[Here two words are erased] 

SOi im August 

del Sigr 

Louis van Beethoven 

Sinfonie 3 Op. 55 

(At the bottom:) N. B. 2. The third horn is so written that it 

can be played by by [sic] a prima'rio as well 
as a secundario. 

A note to the funeral march, is evidently a direction to the 
copyist, as are the remarks on the title-page: 

N. B. The notes in the bass which have stems upwards are for the 
violoncellos, those downward for the bass-viol. 

One of the two words erased from the title was "Bonaparte"; 
and just under his own name Beethoven wrote with a lead pencil 
in large letters, nearly obliterated but still legible, "Composed 
on Bonaparte." 

It is confidently submitted, therefore, that all the tradi- 
tions derived from Czerny, Dr. Bertolini and whomsoever, 
that the opening' Allegro is a description of a naval battle, and 
that the Marcia funebre was written in commemoration of Nelson 
or Gen. Abercrombie, ^ are mistakes, and that Schindler is cor- 
rect; and again, that the date "804 im August," is not that of 
the composition of the Symphony. It is written with a differ- 
ent ink, darker than the rest of the title, and may have been 
inserted long afterwards, Beethoven's memory playing him 
false. The two "violin adagios with orchestral accompaniment" 
offered by Kaspar van Beethoven to Andre in November, 1802, 

^See, in the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." Ill, a criticism of "Nelson's Great Seabattle," 
for pianoforte, violin and violoncello by Ferd. Kauer. Years afterward this piece 
may have been confounded with the Symphony in Dr. Bertolini's memory. From 
Otto Jahn's papers we learn that Dr. Bertolini told him that the first idea of the "Sin- 
fonia eroica" was suggested to Beethoven by Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt (May, 
1798); and the rumor of Nelson's death at the battle of Aboukir (June 2£), at which 
Nelson was wounded in the head, was the cause of the funeral march. Czerny wrote: 
"According to Beethoven's long-time friend. Dr. Bertolini, the first idea of the 'Sin- 
fonia eroica' was suggested by the death of the English general Abercrombie; hence 
the naval (not land-military) character of the theme and the entire first movement." 
Music of a naval character to celebrate the death of an army ofl5cer! Czerny seems 
to have been at least temporarily weak either in history or logic. 

26 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

cannot well be anything but the two Romances, yet that in G, 
Op. 40, bears the date 1803. Perhaps Kaspar wrote before 
it was complete. But what can be said to this.'^ It is perfectly 
well known that Op. 124 was performed on October 3, 1822; 
yet the copy sent to Stumpff in London bore this title: "Over- 
ture by Ludwig van Beethoven, composed for the opening of 
the Josephstadt Theatre, towards the end of September, 1823, 
and performed for the first time on October 3, 1824, Op. 124." 
That the "804 im August" may be an error, is at all events pos- 
sible, if not established as such. "Afterwards," continues Ries, 
"Prince Lobkowitz bought this composition for several years' [?] 
use, and it was performed several times in his palace." 

There is "an anecdote told by a person who enjoyed 
Beethoven's society,"^ in Schmidt's "Wiener Musik-Zeitung" 
(1843, p. 28), according to which, as may readily be believed, this 
work, then so difficult, new, original, strange in its effects and of 
such unusual length, did not please. Some time after this humili- 
ating failure Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia paid a visit to the 
same cavalier (Lobkowitz) in his countryseat. . . . To give 
him a surprise, the new and, of course, to him utterly unknown 
symphony, was played to the Prince, w^ho "listened to it with 
tense attention which grew with every movement." At the 
close he proved his admiration by requesting the favor of an 
immediate repetition; and, after an hour's pause, as his stay 
was too limited to admit of another concert, a second. "The 
impression made by the music was general and its lofty con- 
tents were now recognized." 

To those who have had occasion to study the character 
of Louis Ferdinand as a man and a musician, and who know 
that at the precise time here indicated he was really upon a 
journey that took him near certain estates of Prince Lobko- 
witz, there is nothing improbable in the anecdote. If it be true, 
and the occurrence really took place at Raudnitz or some other 
"countryseat" of the Prince's, the rehearsals and first perform- 
ances of the Symphony at Vienna had occurred, weeks, perhaps 

months, before "804 im August." However this be, Ries was 
present at the first rehearsal and incurred the danger of receiv- 
ing a box on the ear from his master. 

In the first Allegro occurs a wicked whim (bose Laune) of Beet- 
hoven's for the horn; in the second part, several measures before the 

'Dr. Schmidt is of opinion that that this anecdote was contributed to his journal 
by Hieronymus Payer, certainly good authority. 

A Quarrel with von Breuning 27 

theme recurs in its entirety, Beethoven has the horn suggest it at a 
place where the two vioHns are still holding a second chord. To one 
unfamiliar with the score this must always sound as if the horn player 
had made a miscount and entered at the wrong place. At the first 
rehearsal of the symphony, which was horrible, but at which the horn 
player made his entry correctly, I stood beside Beethoven, and, think- 
ing that a blunder had been made I said: "Can't the damned hornist 
count .f^ — it sounds infamously false!" I think I came pretty close 
to receiving a box on the ear. Beethoven did not forgive the slip for 
a long time. (P. 79, "Notizen.") 

It was bad economy for two young, single men, each ta 
have and pay for a complete suite of apartments in the same 
house, especially for two who were connected by so many ties 
of friendship as Breuning and Beethoven. Either lodging con- 
tained ample room for both; and Beethoven therefore very 
soon gave up his and moved into the other. Breuning had his 
own housekeeper and cook and they also usually dined together 
at home. This arrangement had hardly been effected when 
Beethoven was seized with a severe sickness, which when conquered 
still left him the victim of an obstinate intermittent fever. 

Every language has its proverbs to the effect that he who 
serves not himself is ill served. So Beethoven discovered, when 
it was too late, that due notice had not been given to the agent 
of Esterhazy, and that he was bound for the rent of the apart- 
ments previously occupied. The question, who was in fault, 
came up one day at dinner in the beginning of July, and ended 
in a sudden quarrel in which Beethoven became so angry as to 
leave the table and the house and retire to Baden with the de- 
termination to sacrifice the rent here and pay for another lodg- 
ing, rather than remain under the same roof with Breuning. 
"Breuning," says Ries, "a hot-head like Beethoven, grew so 
enraged at Beethoven's conduct because the incident occurred 
in the presence of his brother." It is clear, however, that he 
soon became cool and instantly did his best to prevent the momen- 
tary breach from becoming permanent, by writing — as may be 
gathered from Beethoven's allusions to it — a manly, sensible 
and friendly invitation to forgive and forget. But Beethoven, 
worn with illness, his nerves unstrung, made restless, unhappy, 
petulant by his increasing deafness, was for a time obstinate. 
His wrath must run its course. It found vent in the following 
letters to Ries, and then the paroxysm soon passed. 

The first of the letters was written in the beginning of 1804, 

Dear Ries: Since Breuning did not scruple by his conduct ta 
present my character to you and the landlord as that of a miserable. 

28 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

beggarly, contemptible fellow I single you out first to give my answer 
to Breuning by word of mouth. Only to the one and first point of 
his letter which I answer only in order to vindicate my character in 
your eyes. Say to him, then, that it never occurred to me to reproach 
him because of the tardiness of the notice, and that, if Breuning was 
really to blame for it, my desire to live amicably with all the world is 
much too precious and dear to me that I should give pain to one of 
my friends for a few hundreds and more. You know yourself that 
altogether jocularly I accused you of being to blame that the notice 
did not arrive on time. I am sure that you will remember this; I 
had forgotten all about the matter. Now my brother began at the 
table and said that he believed it was Breuning's fault; I denied it 
at once and said that you were to blame. It appears to me that was 
plain enough to show that I did not hold him to blame. Thereupon 
Breuning jumped up like a madman and said he would call up the land- 
lord. This conduct in the presence of all the persons with whom I 
associate made me lose my self-control; I also jumped up, upset my 
chair, went away and did not return. This behavior induced Breuning 
to put me in such a light before you and the house-steward, and to 
write me a letter also which I have answered only with silence. I 
have nothing more to say to Breuning. His mode of thought and 
action in regard to me proves that there never ought to have been a 
friendly relationship between him and me and such certainly will not 
exist in the future. I have told you all this because your statements 
degraded all my habits of thinking and acting. I know that if you 
had known the facts you would certainly not have made them, and 
this satisfies me. 

Now I beg of you, dear Ries! immediately on receipt of this letter 
go to my brother, the apothecary, and tell him that I shall l(Nive Baden 
in a few days and that he must engage the lodgings in Dobling imme- 
diately you have informed him. I was near to coming to-day; I am 
tired of being here, it revolts me. Urge him for heaven's sake to rent 
the lodgings at once because I want to get into them immediately. 
Tell it to him and do not show him any part of what is written on the 
other page; I want to show him from all {)ossible points of view that 
I am not so small-minded as he and wrote to him only after this 
(Breuning's) letter, although my resolution to end our friendship is 
and will remain firm. 

Your friend 


Not long thereafter there followed a second letter, which 

Ries gives as follows: 

Baden, July U, 1804. 
If you, dear Ries, are able to find better quarters I shall be glad. 
I want them on a large (juiet sfpuire or on the ramparts. ... I will 
t.'ike care to be at the reiieursal on Wednesday. It is not pleasant 
to mo that it is at Schuppanzigh's. He ought to be grateful if my 
humiliations make him thinner. Farewell, dear Ries! We are having 
bad we;ither here and I am not safe from people; I must flee in order 
to be alone. 

End of a Friendship Threatened 29 

From a third letter, dated "Baden, July 24, 1804," Ries prints 
the following excerpt: 

.... No doubt you were surprised at the Breuning affair; believe 
me, dear (friend), my eruption was only the outburst consequent on 
many unpleasant encounters between us before. I have the talent 
in many cases to conceal my sensitiveness and repress it; but if I am 
irritated at a time when I am more susceptible than usual to anger, 
I burst out more violently than anybody else. Breuning certainly 
has excellent qualities, but he thinks he is free from all faults and his 
greatest ones are those which he thinks he sees in others. He has a 
spirit of pettiness which I have despised since childhood. My judg- 
ment almost predicted the course which afifairs would take with Breu- 
ning, since our modes of thinking, acting and feeling are so different, 
but I thought these difficulties might also be overcome; — experience 
has refuted me. And now, no more friendship! I have found only 
two friends in the world with whom I have never had a misunderstand- 
ing, but what men! One is dead, the other still lives. Although we 
have not heard from each other in nearly six years I know that I occupy 
the first place in his heart as he does in mine. The foundation of friend- 
ship demands the greatest similarity between the hearts and souls 
of men. I ask no more than that you read the letter which I wrote 
to Breuning and his letter to me. No, he shall never again hold the 
place in my heart which once he occupied. He who can think a friend 
capable of such base thoughts and be guilty of such base conduct towards 
him is not worth my friendship. 

The reader knows too well the character of Breuning to 
be prejudiced against him by all these harsh expressions written 
by Beethoven in a fit of choler of which he heartily repented 
and "brought forth fruits meet for repentance." But, as Ries 
says, "these letters together with their consequences are too 
beautiful a testimony to Beethoven's character to be omitted 
here," the more so as they introduce, by the allusions in them, 
certain matters of more or less interest from the "Notizen" of 
Ries. Thus Ries writes: 

One evening I came to Baden to continue my lessons. There 
I found a handsome young woman sitting on the sofa with him. Think- 
ing that I might be intruding I wanted to go at once, but Beethoven 
detained me and said: "Play for the time being." He and the lady 
remained seated behind me. I had already played for a long time 
when Beethoven suddenly called out: ''Ries, play some love music''; 
a little later, "Something melancholy T' then, "Something passionate T' etc. 

From what I heard I could come to the conclusion that in some 
manner he must have offended the lady and was trying to make amends 
by an exhibition of good humor. At last he jumped up and shouted: 
"Why, all those things are by me!" I had played nothing but move- 
ments from his works, connecting them with short transition-phrases, 
which seemed to please him. The lady soon went away and to my 
great amazement Beethoven did not know who she was. I learned 

30 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

that she had come in shortly before me in order to make Beethoven's 
acquaintance. We followed her in order to discover her lodgings and 
later her station. We saw her from a distance (it was moonlight), ^ 
but suddenly she disappeared. Chatting on all manner of topics we 
■walked for an hour and a half in the beautiful valley adjoining. On 
going, however, Beethoven said: "I must find out who she is and you 
must help me." A long time afterward I met her in Vienna and dis- 
covered that she was the mistress of a foreign prince. I reported the 
intelligence to Beethoven, but never heard anything more about her 
either from him or anybody else. 

The rehearsal at Schuppanzigh's on "Wednesday" (18th) men- 
tioned in the letter of July 14th, was for the benefit of Ries, who 
was to play in the first of the second series of the regular Augarten 
Thursday concerts which took place the next day (19th) or, 
perhaps, the 26th. Ries says on page 113 of the "Notizen": 

Beethoven had given me his beautiful Concerto in C minor (Op. 37) 
in manuscript so that I might make my first public appearance as his 
j)upil with it; and I am the only one who ever appeared as such while 
Beethoven was alive. . . . Beethoven himself conducted, but he only 
turned the pages and never, perhaps, was a concerto more beautifully 
accompanied. We had two large rehearsals. I had asked Beethoven 
to write a cadenza for me, but he refused and told me to write one 
myself and he would correct it. Beethoven was satisfied with my 
composition and made few changes; but there was an extremely bril- 
liant and very difficult passage in it, which, though he liked it, seemed 
to him too venturesome, wherefore he told me to write another in its 
place. A week before the concert he wanted to hear the cadenza again. 
I played it and floundered in the passage; he again, this time a little 
ill-naturedly, told me to change it. I did so, but the new passage did 
not satisfy me; I therefore studied the other, and zealously, but was 
not quite sure of it. When the cadenza was reached in the public 
concert Beethoven quietly sat down. I could not persuade myself 
to choose the easier one. When I boldly began the more difficult one. 
Beethoven violently jerked his chair; but the cadenza went through 
all right and Beethoven was so delighted that he shouted "Bravo!" 
loudly. This electrified the entire audience and at once gave me a 
standing among the artists. Afterward, while expressing his satis- 
faction he added: "But all the same you are willful! If you had made 
a slip in the passage I would never have given you another lesson." 

A little farther on in his book Ries writes (p. 115): 

The pianoforte part of the C minor Concerto was never completely 
irritten out in the score; Beethoven wrote it down on separate sheets 
of paper expressly for ine. 

This confirms Soyfried, as quoted on a preceding page. 
"Xot on my life would I have l)elieved that I could be so 
lazy as I am here. If it is followed by an outburst of industry, 

'"Full moon, July ii." almanac of 1804. 

The F Minor Sonata, Op. 57 31 

something worth while may be accomplished," Beethoven 
wrote at the end of his letter of July 24. He was right. His 
brother Johann secured for him the lodging at Dobling where 
he passed the rest of the summer, and where the two Sonatas 
Op. 53 and 54, certainly "something worth while," were com- 
posed. In one of the long walks, previously described by Ries, 

in which we went so far astray that we did not get back to Dobling, 
where Beethoven lived, until nearly 8 o'clock, he had been all the time 
humming and sometimes howling, always up and down, without sing- 
ing any definite notes. In answer to my question what it was he said: 
'*A theme for the last movement of the sonata has occurred to me." 
When we entered the room he ran to the pianoforte without taking 
off his hat. I took a seat in a corner and he soon forgot all about me. 
Now he stormed for at least an hour with the beautiful finale of the 
sonata. Finally he got up, was surprised still to see me and said: "I 
cannot give you a lesson to-day, I must do some more work." 

The Sonata in question was that in F minor, Op. 57. Ries 
had in the meantime fulfilled Beethoven's wish for a new lodg- 
ing on the ramparts, by engaging for him one on the Molker- 
bastei three or four houses only from Prince Lichnowsky in 
the Pasqualati house — "from the fourth storey of which there 
was a beautiful view," namely, over the broad Glacis, the north- 
western suburb of the city and the mountains in the distance. 
"He moved out of this several times," says Ries, "but always 
returned to it, so that, as I afterwards heard. Baron Pasqualati 
was good-natured enough to say: 'The lodging will not be rented; 
Beethoven will come back.'" To what extent Ries was correctly 
informed in this we will not now conjecture. The lessons of Fors- 
ter's little boy had been interrupted so long as his teacher dwelt 
in the distant theatre buildings: they were now renewed, the first 
being particularly impressed upon his memory by a severe reproof 
from Beethoven for ascending the four lofty flights of stairs 
too rapidly, and entering out of breath: "Youngster, you will 
ruin your lungs if you are not more careful," said he in substance. 

The two new Sonatas were finished and were now made 
known to Beethoven's intimates. In the one in C major. Op. 
53, there was a long Andante. A friend of Beethoven's said 
to him that the Sonata was too long, for which he was terribly 
taken to task by the composer. But after quiet reflection Beet- 
hoven was convinced of the correctness of the criticism. The 
Andante was therefore excluded and its place supplied by the 
interesting Introduction to the Rondo which it now has. A 
year after the publication of the Sonata it also appeared sepa- 
rately. In these particulars Ries is confirmed by Czerny, who 

32 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

adds: "Because of its popularity (for Beethoven played it fre- 
quently in society) he gave it the title 'Andante favori.' I am 
the more sure of this since Beethoven sent me the proof together 
with the manuscript for revision." The arrangement for string 
quartet may have been made much later, probably by Ries (?). 

This Andante (Ries continues) has left a painful memory in me. 
When Beethoven played it for the first time to our friend Krumpholtz 
and me, it delighted us greatly and we teased him until he repeated it. 
Passing the door of Prince Lichnowsky's house (by the Schottenthor) 
on my way home I went in to tell the Prince of the new and glorious 
composition of Beethoven's, and was persuaded to play it as well as 
I could remember it. Recalling more and more of it the Prince urged 
me to repeat it. In this way it happened that the Prince also learned 
a portion of the piece. To give Beethoven a surprise the Prince went 
to him the next day and said that he too had composed something 
which was not at all bad. In spite of Beethoven's remark that he 
did not want to hear it the Prince sat down and to the amazement 
of the composer played a goodly portion of the Andante. Beethoven 
was greatly angered, and this was the reason why I never again heard 
Beethoven play. 

Prince Louis Ferdinand, now on his w^ay into Italy, made 
a short stay at Vienna, renewing his acquaintance with Beet- 
hoven; but of their intercourse few particulars are known. Ries 
relates ("Notizen," p. Ill), that an old countess gave a little 
musical entertainment "to which, naturally, Beethoven was 
invited. When the company sat down to supper, plates for 
the high nol)ility only were placed at the Prince's table — none 
for Beethoven. He flew into a rage, made a few ugly remarks, 
took his hat and went away. A few days later Prince Louis 
gave a dinner to which some members of the first company, ' 
including the old countess, were invited. When they sat down 
to table the old countess was placed on one side of the Prince, 
Beethoven on the other, a mark of distinction which Beethoven 
always referred to with pleasure." 

The Pianoforte Concerto in C minor was then in the hands 
of the engraver; upon its publication in November, Prince Louis 
Ferdinand's name appeared upon the title. Concerning the 
compositi(ms of the Prince, Beethoven remarked: "Now and 
then there are pretty bits in tiiem" — so said Czerny. Before 
this time Beethoven and Breiming "met each other by accident 
and a complete reconciliation took place and every inimical 
resolve of Hccthovcn's, (h-spite their vigorous expression in the 
two letters, was wholly forgotten." — (Ries.) And not this alone; 
he "laid his peace olFeriiig on the altar of reconciliation." It 
was the best picture of himself which exists from those years, 

Beethoven and Breuning Reconciled 33 

a beautiful miniature painted upon ivory by Hornemann, still 
in the possession of Breuning's heirs. With it he sent the fol- 
lowing letter: 

Let us bury behind this pictiu-e forever, my dear Steffen, all that 
for a time has passed hehveen us. I know that I broke your heart. 
The feelings within me which you must have noticed have sufficiently 
punished me for that. It was not wickedness that I felt towards you; 
no, if that were so I should never again be worthy of your friendship; 
passion on your part and on mine; but mistrust of you arose in me; 
men came between us who are not worthy of you and me. My por- 
trait was long ago intended for you; you know that I always intended 
it for somebody. To whom could I give it with so warm a heart as 
to you, faithful, good, noble Steffen! Forgive me if I have pained 
you; I suffered no less. When I no longer saw you near me I felt for 
the first time how dear to my heart you are and always will be. 

Surely you will come to my arms again as in past days. 

Nor was the reconciliation on Breuning's part less perfect. 
On the 13th of November he writes to Wegeler and, to excuse 
his long silence, says: 

He who has been my friend from youth is often largely to blame 
that I am compelled to neglect the absent ones. You cannot conceive, 
my dear Wegeler, what an indescribable, I might say, fearful effect 
the gradual loss of hearing has had upon him. Think of the feeling 
of being unhappy in one of such violent temperament; in addition 
reservedness, mistrust, often towards his best friends, in many things 
want of decision! For the greater part, with only an occasional excep- 
tion when he gives free vent to his feelings on the spur of the moment, 
intercourse with him is a real exertion, at which one can scarcely trust 
to oneself. From May until the beginning of this month we lived in 
the same house, and at the outset I took him into my rooms. He had 
scarcely come before he became severely, almost dangerously ill, and 
this was followed by an intermittent fever. Worry and the care of 
him used me rather severely. Now he is completely well again. He 
lives on the Ramparts, I in one of the newly-built houses of Prince 
Esterhazy in front of the Alstercaserne, and as I am keeping house 
he eats with me every day. 

Not a word about the quarrel! Not a word to intimate 
that Beethoven had not occupied his rooms with him until at 
the usual time for changing lodgings he had crossed the Glacis 
to Pasqualati's house; not a word of complaint — nothing but 
deepest pity and heartiest sympathy. 

In December the famous Munich oboist Ramm was in 
Vienna and took part with Beethoven in one of Prince Lobko- 
witz's private concerts. Beethoven directed the performance 
of the "Sinfonia Eroica" and in the second part of the first Allegro, 
"w^here the music is pursued for so many measures in half-notes 

34 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

against the beat," he, as Ries says, threw the orchestra into 
such confusion that a new beginning had to be made. 

On the same evening he played his Quintet for Pianoforte and 
Wind-instruments with Ramra as oboist. In the last Allegro there 
are several holds before the theme is resumed. At one of these Beet- 
hoven suddenly began to improvise, took the Rondo for a theme and 
entertained himself and the others for a considerable time, but not 
the other players. They were displeased and Ramm even very angry. 
It was really very comical to see them, momentarily expecting the per- 
formance to be resumed, put their instruments to their mouths only 
to put them down again. At length Beethoven was satisfied and dropped 
into the Rondo. The whole company was transported with delight. 

Turn we again to the Theater-an-der-Wien, for a new con- 
tract has been made with Beethoven, by which his operatic 
aspirations and hopes are again awakened, with a better pros- 
pect of their gratification. At the end of August Sonnleithner 
retired from the direction and Baron Braun took the extra- 
ordinary step of reinstating his former rival and enemy, 
Schikanedcr — a remarkable proof of the Baron's high opinion 
of his tact and skill in the difficult business of management. 

When one calls to mind the extraordinary praises which 
have been bestowed upon Baron Braun for his supposed pat- 
ronage of Beethoven, it is worth noting, as a coincidence if noth- 
ing more, that now when Schikanedcr finds himself in a strait 
for novelty and new attractions for his stage, the project of 
appealing to Beethoven's genius is revived. 

Before proceeding, a word upon Sonnleithner and Treitschke 
may be permitted. 

The eldest son, born 1765, of Christoph Sonnleithner, 
Doctor of Laws and Dean of the Juridical Faculty at Vienna, 
Joseph Ferdinand by name, was educated to his father's pro- 
fession, and early rose to the positions of Circuit Commissioner 
and Royal Imperial Court Scrivener {Kreis-Kommif>.sdr iind 
K. K. IloJ-Concipist). All the Sonnleithners, from Dr. Chris- 
toph down to the excellent and beloved representative of the 
family, I>e()[)()l(l, his grandson who died in 1878, have stood in 
the front ranks of musical dilettanti, as composers, singers, in- 
strumental performers and writers on topics pertaining to the 
art. Joseph Ferdinand was no exception. He gave his atten- 
tion j)articularly to musical and theatrical literature, edited 
the Court 'J'heatre Calendars, 1794-5, so higiily lauded by Gerber, 
and prepared himself by appro|)riate studies to carry out Forkel's 
plan of a "History of Music in Exami)les," which was to reach 
the great extent of 50 volumes, folio. To this end he spent 


nearly three years, 1798-1802, in an extensive tour through 
northern Europe making collections of rare, old music. Upon his 
return to Vienna, resigning this project again into the hands of 
Forkel, he became one of the earliest partners, if not one of the 
founders, of the publishing house known as the "Kunst- und 
Industrie-Comptoir" (Bureau d'Arts et d'Industrie), of which 
Schreyvogel was the recognized head. The latter had been ap- 
pointed Secretary of the Court Theatre in 1802, but resigned, and, 
on February 14, 1804, Sonnleithner "was appointed, and on this 
account was most honorably retired from his former post as 
Court Scrivener." On what grounds he has been called an 
*'actor" (Schauspieler) is unknown. 

One of his colleagues in the various offices of the Court 
Theatres was Georg Friedrich Treitschke, born in 1776, a native 
of Leipsic, who came to the Court Theatre in 1800 as an actor, 
but whose talents and fine character raised him in the course 
of the next two years to the position of poet and stage-manager 
of the German Court Opera, a post which he still and for many 
years continued to hold. He was therefore now (1804) in close 
business relations with Baron Braun and Sonnleithner; and, 
until some proof be adduced of lapse of memory — for his known 
probity forbids all suspicion of intentional or careless misrep- 
resentation — his statements in regard to them may be accepted 
with perfect confidence. 

Treitschke wrote thus in the "Orpheus" of 1841 (p. 258): 

At the end of 1804 Baron von Braun, the new owner of the Royal 
Imperial priv. Theater-an-der-Wien, commissioned Ludwig van Beet- 
hoven, then in the full strength of youth, to write an opera for that 
playhouse. Because of his oratorio, "Christus am Olberg," it was 
believed that the master might do as much for dramatic music as he 
had done for instrumental. Besides his honorarium ^ he was offered 
free lodgings in the theatre buildings. Joseph Sonnleithner under- 
took to provide the text, and chose the French book, "L' Amour con- 
jugal," although it had already been set by Gaveaux and to Italian 
words as "Leonora" by Paer, but had been translated from both drama- 
tizations into German. Beethoven had no fear of his predecessors and 
went to work with eager delight, so that the opera was nearly finished by 
the middle of 1805.2 

^This honorarium was a share in the receipts. 

'In the second (German) edition of Thayer's "Life," etc., Dr. Riemann amends 
this statement in the text as follows: These statements of Treltschke's prove to be 
inaccurate, inasmuch as it has definitively been determined that Beethoven began 
work on "Leonore" before Paer's opera had been produced in Dresden, i.e., October 
3, 1804. This is proved by the discovery of sketches for the early numbers of 
the opera among sketches for the "Eroica" symphony, and is confirmed by Ries. 
The latter says: "When he composed 'Leonore' he had free lodgings for a year in 
the Wiedener Theatre; but as these opened on the courtyard they were not agree- 

36 The Life of Ltjdwig van Beethoven 

Such is Treitschke's simple and compendious statement of the 
facts; a statement which has been affirmed to contain "manifold 
errors," yet, in truth, not a single point in it can be controverted. 

In Paris, at the close of the 18th century, Shakespeare's "being 
taken by the insolent foe and redemption thence" was by far 
the most popular subject for the stage. Doubtless so many 
facts stranger than fiction in recent narratives of escape from 
dungeon and guillotine, rendered doubly fascinating by beau- 
tiful exhibitions of disinterested affection, exalted generosity 
and heroic self-sacrifice, were not without their effect upon pub- 
lic taste. Certain it is that no other class of subjects is so numer- 
ously represented in the French drama of that precise period as 
this. "Les deux Journees" by J. N. Bouilly stands confessedly 
at its head. In Beethoven's opinion in 18*23, this and "La Vestale" 
were the two best texts then ever written. Two years before 
the "Deux Journees" — that is, on February 19th, 1798 — the same 
poet had produced another of that class of texts, which, if less 
abounding in pleasing and exciting scenes, still contained one 
supreme moment that cannot readily find its like. This was 
"Leonore, ou I'Amour conjugal"; the seventeenth and last in 
Fetis' list of Pierre Gaveaux's thirty-five operas and operettas. 

Gaveaux was a singer at the Theatre Feydeau in Paris — 
a man of no great musical science, but gifted with a natural 
talent for melody and for pleasing though not always correct 
instrumentation, which secured the suffrages of the Feydeau 
audience for nearly all the long list of his productions. These 
were mostly short pieces in one act, in which he wrote the prin- 
cipal tenor part for himself. His "Le petit Matelot" (1794), as 
"Der kleine Matrose," became immediately popular throughout 
Germany; Rellstab at Berlin published a pianoforte arrange- 
ment of it in 1798; and it so endured the fluctuations in public 

able to him. He therefore hired, at the same time, quarters in the Rothes Haus on 
the Al.serkaserne." "Now," Nottebohm continues, "lieethoven lived in the Theater- 
an-der-Wien in May, ISU.'J, and later in the Rothes Haus in the sprinj? of 1804." Con- 
sequently he must have w<irked on the opera hrforc the spring of 1S04. Nottebohm 
assumes that between the abandonment of work on Srhikaiiedfr's text and the begin- 
ing of work on "Leonore" there could not be more than a quarter of a year. It is 
very probablo that li<<thoven dropped work on Schikaneder's text when the latter's 
activity as director came to an end on February 11, ISO*; but it does not follow that 
be may not already have approached the setting of Houilly's text, as translated into 
Cernian by Sonnleif hncr. who now undertook the work of administration. At any 
rate it is an error to iisscrt that the commission to compose the b(iok was not offered 
to him until the full of ISOJ. Indeed, the question is whether or not Beethoven's 
occupancy of lodgings in the theatre was interrupted at all. It ought also to be borne 
in mind that in view of his relations with IJaron von Braun and Sonnleithner, Beet- 
hoven may have known before the conelusi<m of the contract that Schikam-der's direc- 
tion was to be terminated— reasons enougii for believing that tiu-re is nothing improb- 
able in the theory that the composer began work on "Leonore" before the end of 1803. 

The French Original of "Fidelio" 37 

taste as still to be performed at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1846. 
This was followed by his "L'Amour filial," and others, so that, 
in short, whatever faults the critics found in his music, he was 
one of those French composers, to whose productions the man- 
agers of German opera houses ever had an eye. As the 
"Leonore" was published in score soon after its production, the 
names of its authors, Bouilly and Gaveaux, as well as its success 
at the Theatre Feydeau, ensured its becoming known in Ger- 
many, and, but for the use of its subject by Paer, it might perhaps 
have been simply translated and performed with the original music. 
Rewritten in Italian, it was one of the first texts put into Paer's 
hands after his removal to Dresden, and was produced on the 
3d of October, as the opening piece of the winter season 1804-5. 

The first performance was another triumph for Paer, who, 
satisfied with it, departed for Vienna next day on his way to Italy. 
It requires no great sagacity to perceive, on the one hand, that 
the Directors of the Imperial Italian Opera — on whose stage at 
the least eleven of Paer's works had been given, several of them 
originally written for it — would not fail to secure a copy of the 
new composition; and, on the other, that the composer would 
seek the fame and profit of its reproduction there. ^ Jalin in 
his preface to Beethoven's "Leonore" has discussed the great 
inferiority of the Dresden Italian text to the original; its defects 
would be equally apparent to Sonnleithner; and this consider- 
ation, with perhaps later news from Dresden, would convince 
him that the performance of Paer's composition at Vienna would 
be at best a doubtful venture.^ 

At this point, when the first of the solo sonatas written 
for the enlarged pianoforte (Op. 53) is ready for the press; 
when the Pianoforte Concerto in C minor has just been pub- 
lished; the "Sinfonia Eroica," with its daring novelties of ideas and 
construction is awaiting public performance, and the composer 
has entered the lists to compete with Cherubini in another form 
of the art — here seems to be the fitting place for a few notes 
upon the degree of popularity, and the extent of circulation, to 
which his previous compositions had already attained. 

^Dr. Riemann here inserts: "If this was not the case the explanation lies in the 
fact that the attention of Sonnleithner, who had to provide texts for both Beethoven 
and Cherubini, had previously been directed to the 'Leonore' of Bouilly and Gaveaux, 
and Beethoven had already begun work on it." 

^It was not until February 8, 1809, that Paer'a opera was performed in Vienna, 
long after Beethoven had withdrawn his opera and when Baron von Braun was no 
longer Intendant. The story to which Ferdinand Killer gave currency about the 
production of Paer's opera and the attendance of Beethoven upon it in company with 
the composer must be rejected for chronological reasons. (Riemann.) 

38 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"\Ye have not written very lucidly, if it be not sufficiently 
clear that, at Vienna, the works of no other of the younger gen- 
eration of composers had so ready and extensive a sale as Beet- 
hoven's, notwithstanding their most attractive qualities to many, 
were repellent to others. That was a question of taste. But in 
these last weeks of 1804, a proof of their general popularity was in 
preparation by Schreyvogel and Rizzi, which, so far as the present 
writer has examined the German periodical press from 1790 to 
1830, is without a parallel. It was a complete classified catalogue 
of the "Works of Herrn Ludwig van Beethoven," published as 
an advertisement, January 30, 1805, in the "Wiener Zeitung," 
announcing them as "to be had at the Kunst- und Industrie- 
Comptoir at Vienna in the Kohlmarkt, No. 269," 

At the end of 1796 — a few sets of Variations excepted — 
only the first three of Beethoven's opera had appeared. Four 
years afterwards the first publishing houses of Leipsic contend 
with those of Vienna for his manuscripts, notwithstanding the 
worse than contemptuous treatment of his works by the newly 
founded musical journal. 

In January, 1801, at Breslau "the pianoforte players gladly 
venture upon Beethoven and spare neither time nor pains to 
conquer his difficulties." In June, Beethoven has "more com- 
missions, almost, than it was possible to fill" from the publishers 
— he "demands and they pay." In 1802, Nageli of Zurich, passing 
all the older composers by, applies to him for sonatas with which 
to introduce to the public his costly enterprise of the "Reper- 
toire des Clavccinistes." In 1803, although Simrock, of Bonn, 
had a branch house at Paris, and printed editions of his towns- 
man's more important works for circulation in France, Zulehner 
of Mayence finds the demand for them sufficient to warrant 
the announcement of a complete and uniform edition of the 
"Works for Pianoforte and String Instruments." In May of 
the same year tlie "Correspondence des Amateurs-Musiciens" 
informs us that at Paris a part of the pianoforte virtuosos play 
only Ilaydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and si)ite of the difficulties 
offered by their works there are "quehiuefois des Amateurs 
qui croient les jouer"; and, soon after this, an application comes 
to Beethoven from distant Scotland for half a dozen sonatas, 
on Scotch themes.^ 

'Id September, 1804, Muzio C'Icmenti, who was not only a fine musician but also 
a clever business man, made an arranRempnt with Rr'?itk<)pf and Hartel, by which 
he secured all the compositions which Beethoven might bring that firm, for England 
at one-half the honorarium paid to the composer. (See an article by Max linger 
in "The Monthly Record." Nov. -Dec, 1908.) 

Popularity of Beethoven's Music 39 

The first two Concertos for Pianoforte and Orchestra, pub- 
lished in 1801, are reported to have been played in public within two 
years at Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Main; the third, advertised 
in November, 1804, was produced the next month at Berlin. The 
first Symphony had hardly left Hoffmeister's press, when it was 
added to the repertory of the Gewandhaus Concert, at Leipsic, 
and during the three following years was repeatedly performed 
at Berlin, Breslau, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Dresden, Brunswick 
and Munich; the second, advertised in March, 1804, was the opening 
symphony of Schick and Bohrer's (Berlin) concerts in the Autumn. 
The "Prometheus" overture was played in the same concerts, 
December 2, 1803 — ten days earlier than the oldest discovered 
advertisement of its publication. The instant popularity of 
the Septet in all its forms is well known. 

A public performance of the Horn Sonata, March 20, 1803, 
at the concert of Dulon, the blind flute player, is worth noting, 
because the pianist was "young Bar" — Meyerbeer. 

In our day and generation, to offer so meagre a list of public 
productions as a proof of popularity in the case of a new author 
of orchestral works, would be ridiculous. In the multiplica- 
tion of musical journals and the greatly extended interest taken 
in musical news wherever an orchestra exists equal to the per- 
formance of a symphony, there is also someone to report its 
doings. This is as it should be. Then, except in the larger 
capitals, this was rarely so. Hence the few notes above, com- 
piled from the correspondence of the single musical journal 
of the time, are more than suggestive — they are proof — of many 
an unrecorded production of the works they name. But more 
noteworthy than the statistics given by the various corre- 
spondents, is this: that, whatever praises they bestow upon 
the concertos and symphonies of others, they rank Beethoven 
alone with Haydn and Mozart; and this they do, even before 
the publication of the third Concerto and the Second Symphony. 

Beethoven, then, though almost unknown personally beyond 
the limits of a few Austrian cities — unaided by apostles to preach 
his gospel, owing nothing to journalist or pamphleteer, dis- 
daining, in fact, all the arts by which dazzling but mediocre 
talent pushes itself into notoriety — had, in the short space of 
eight years, by simple force of his genius as manifested in his 
published works, placed himself at the head of all writers for 
the pianoforte, and in public estimation risen to the level of 
the two greatest of orchestral composers. The unknown student 
that entered Vienna in 1792, is now in 1804 a recognized member 

40 The Life of Ludwig vax Beethoven 

of the great triumvirate, to whose names in 1870, in spite of 
all the polemics of preachers of a new gospel, the world still per- 
sists in giving the place of highest honor in the roll of instrumental 
composers. Then, as now — now, as then — they are Haydn, 
Mozart and Beethoven. 

The lists of the ascertained compositions and publications 
for the year 1804 are surprisingly short; but as no really sufficient 
reason for the fact can be given, none shall be attempted. ^ The 
former are only the two Sonatas, Op. 53 and Op. o4, and the 
"Andante favori"; but the final revision of the "Sinfonia 
Eroica" probably was made at the beginning of the year. 

The publications were these: 
1 — Second Symphony, D major. Op. 36, dedicated to Prince 
Carl Lichnowsky, advertised by the Kunst- und Industrie- 
Comptoir, Vienna, March 10. 

The arrangement of this Symphony for pianoforte, 
violin and violoncello, which was published by the same 
firm in 1806, is indirectly claimed by Ries as his work, not- 
withstanding the title bears the words "par I'auteur meme." 
Czerny confirms Ries in these terms: "The arrangement 
of the second Symphony as a Pianoforte Trio was made by 
Ries; Beethoven gave it to me for correction of certain things 
with which he was dissatisfied." 
■2 — Song with pianoforte accompaniment: "Der Wachtelschlag," 

advertised with the preceding. 
3 — VII Variations on "God save the King," for Pf., advertised 

with the preceding. 
4 — III Marches for Pf., four hands. Op. 4.3, dedicated to Princess 

Esterhazy, advertised with the preceding. 
5 — V Variations for Pf., on "Rule Britannia," advertised by the 

same, June 20th. 
6 — Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 31, Xo. 3, published by Nageli 
in his "Repertoire des Clavecinistes," Cat. II. 

'Nottebohm's rcsearrhes ((rf. "Zweite Beethoveuiana," p. 416 et seq.) show that 
Bt^thoven sketrhfd all the movementa of the Triple Concerto, Op. 5G, in 1801; that 
the bejpnninjj of the wi>rk on the "Waldatein" Sonata. Op. 53, dates back to 180.S, 
or at the lat>-<t the early part of 1S04; sketches for Op. .5 4 are misiia^, b'lt the three 
numbers of Op. 57 are so fully represented among the opera sketched that Schindler's 
statement that the so-called "Appassionat.i*' Sonata was compoied at Count Bruns- 
wick's in 1806 is to be understood as referring only to its definitive working out and 
the making of a fair copy; the date of the performance of "I^onore" ("Fidelio";, 
taken in connection with a rfvl-^ion of the air in E major, show that the "Leonore " 
sketchbook. betwF^n which and the b-jok of 1803 there seems to have Ijeen another, 
of which no trace has been found, may have extended to the beginning of 1805. 

Chapter III 

The Year 1805 — First Public Performance of the "Heroic 
Symphony" — The Opera "Leonore," or "Fideho" — A 
Study of the Sketchbook — The Singers and the Pro- 

THE hfe of an author or composer, when absorbed in the 
study of a great work, falls into a routine of daily labor that 
presents few salient points to the biographer. Thus it was 
with Beethoven during the first two-thirds of the year 1805. 
What has been preserved of his correspondence is very little in 
quantity and of slight value. Ries was away with Lichnowsky 
in Silesia during all the warm season, and, very soon after his 
return, was forced to depart again from Vienna for Bonn; 
hence the "Notizen" fail us in perhaps the most interesting 
period of the young man's four years of pupilage under Beethoven 
— that of the composition of "Leonore," or "Fidelio." The 
history of the year is, in the main, the history of that work; and 
unfortunately a very unsatisfactory one. Xot to break the 
thread of the story hereafter, the few events of the first half 
of the year unconnected with it, shall first be disposed of. 

Schuppanzigh had discovered and taught a boy of great 
genius for the violin, Joseph Mayseder by name (born October 
16, 1789), who was already, in his sixteenth year, the subject of 
eulogistic notices in the public press. With this youth as second, 
Schreiber, "in the service of Prince Lobkowitz," for the viola, 
and the elder Kraft, violoncellist, Schuppanzigh during the 
winter 1804-5 gave quartets "in a private house in the Heiligen- 
kreuzerhof, the listeners paying five florins in advance for four 
performances." Up to the end of April the quartets given were 
by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Eberl, Romberg, with "occa- 
sionally larger pieces. Of the latter great pleasure was given 
by the beautiful Beethoven Sextet in E-flat. a composition which 
shines resplendent by reason of its lively melodies, unconstrained 
harmonies, and a wealth of new and surprising ideas." So it 


42 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

is reported in the "Allg. Mus. Zeit.," VII, 535, of the Sextet 
for wind-instruments, which afterwards received the opus number 
71, but was composed "in 1796 at the latest," says Nottebohm, 
and, not improbably in its original form, in Bonn. 

It was to the discredit of Vienna, where instrumental per- 
formers of rare ability so abounded, that for several years reg- 
ular public orchestral concerts, save those at the Augarten in 
summer, had been abandoned. Sensible of this, the bankers 
Wiirth and Fellner during the winter of 1803-4 "had gathered 
together on all Sunday mornings a select company (nearly all 
dilettanti) for concerts restricted for the greater part to pieces for 
full orchestra, such as symphonies (among them Beethoven's First 
and Second), overtures, concertos, which they played in really 
admirable style." There were also "some overtures by a certain 
Count Gallenberg" who "imitated, or rather copied, Mozart and 
Cherubini so slavishly, following them even in the details of keys 
and modulations so faithfully, that it was easy to tell the titles of 
the overtures over whose lasts his had been made with the greatest 
certainty." Thus the correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." 
(VI, 467). In these concerts Clement of the Theater-an-der- 
Wien was director. 

They were renewed the present winter, and new perform- 
ances of Beethoven's first two Symphonies, and the Concerto 
in C minor (Op. 37) — pianoforte part by Ries^ — prepare the 
way for the production of "an entirely new symphony" — "a 
long composition extremely difficult of performance, in reality, 
a tremendously expanded, daring and wild fantasia"; wanting 
"nothing in the way of startling and beautiful passages, in which 
the energetic and talented composer must be recognized; but 
often it loses itself in lawlessness"; the writer "belongs to Herr 
van Beethoven's sincerest admirers, but in this composition 
he must confess that he finds too much that is glaring and bizarre, 
which makes a survey too difficult; and the principle of unity is 
ahnost wholly lost sight of." It was the "Sinfonia Eroica" — 
its first semi-pubh'c production. Its first really public perform- 
ance was in the Tlieatcr-an-der-Wien, on Sunday evening, April 
7th, where it began the second part of a concert given for his 
own benefit by Clement. The programme announces it thus: 
"A new grand symi)hony in D-sharp by Herrn Ludwig van Beet- 
hoven, de<licated to his Serene Highness Prince Lobkowitz. 
The composer has kindly consented to conduct the work." 

'Again played by him at the opening of Schuppanzigh's Augarten concerts 
in the Spring. 

Public Performance of the "Eroica" 43 

Czerny remembered, and told Jahn, that on this occasion 
**somebody in the gallery cried out: 'I'll give another kreutzer 
if the thing will but stop!'" This is the key-note to the strain 
in which the Symphony was criticized in communications to 
the press, that are now among the curiosities of musical liter- 
ature. The correspondent of the "Freymiithige" divided the 
audience into three parties. 

Some, says he, Beethoven's particular friends, assert that it is 
just this symphony which is his masterpiece, that this is the true style 
for high-class music, and that if it does not please now, it is because 
the public is not cultured enough, artistically, to grasp all these lofty 
beauties; after a few thousand years have passed it will not fail of 
its effect. Another faction denies that the work has any artistic value 
and professes to see in it an untamed striving for singularity which 
had failed, however, to achieve in any of its parts beauty or true sub- 
limity and power. By means of strange modulations and violent tran- 
sitions, by combining the most heterogeneous elements, as for instance 
when a pastoral in the largest style is ripped up by the basses, by three 
horns, etc., a certain undesirable originality may be achieved with- 
out much trouble; but genius proclaims itself not in the unusual and 
the fantastic, but in the beautiful and the sublime. Beethoven him- 
self proved the correctness of this axiom in his earlier works. The 
third party, a very small one, stands midway between the others — • 
it admits that the symphony contains many beauties, but concedes 
that the connection is often disrupted entirely, and that the inordinate 
length of this longest, and perhaps most difficult of all symphonies, 
wearies even the cognoscenti, and is unendurable to the mere music- 
lover; it wishes that H. v. B. would employ his acknowledgedly great 
talents in giving us works like his symphonies in C and D, his ingra- 
tiating Septet in E-flat, the intellectual Quintet in D (C major.'') and 
others of his early compositions which have placed B. forever in the 
ranks of the foremost instrumental composers. It fears, however, 
that if Beethoven continues on his present path both he and the public 
will be the sufferers. . . . The public and Herr van Beethoven, who 
conducted, were not satisfied with each other on this evening; the 
public thought the symphony too heavy, too long, and Beethoven 
himself too discourteous, because he did not nod his head in recog- 
nition of the applause which came from a portion of the audience. 

This clear, compendious and valuable statement of the 
conflicting opinions of the first auditors of the "Eroica" renders 
farther citations superfluous; but a story — characteristic enough 
to be true — may be added : that Beethoven, in reply to the com- 
plaints of too great length, said, in substance: "If / write a sym- 
phony an hour long it will be found short enough!" He refused 
positively to make any change in the work, but deferred to public 
opinion so far, as, upon its publication, to aflSx to the title of 
the Symphony a note to the effect, that on account of its great 

44 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

length it should be played near the beginning of a concert, before 
the audience was become weary. 

Beethoven, though choleric and violent in his anger, was 
placable. The theft of the Quintet in C dedicated to Count 
Fries, as related by Ries, and Beethoven's warning against the 
pirated edition, will be remembered. Nottebohm has sufficiently 
established the fact that the engraved plates were not destroyed, 
as supposed by Ries, but afterwards again used with the composer's 
consent and even his corrections. A short letter to the offend- 
ing publisher (June 1) shows that his wrath was already appeased, 
and seems to indicate a purpose to grant him the copyright of 
a new quintet — a purpose which, under the pressure of his opera, 
and the subsequent invasion of the French, remained unexecuted. 

Ignatz Pleyel, born in 1757, the twenty-fourth child of a 
schoolmaster at Ruppersthal, a village a few miles from Vienna, 
a favorite pupil of Haydn and just now the most widely known 
and popular living instrumental composer except his master, 
came from Paris this season to revisit, after many years' absence, 
the scenes of his youth. He brought with him his last new quar- 
tets, "which," writes Czerny, 

were performed before a large and aristocratic society at the house of 
Prince Lohkowitz. At the close, Beethoven, who was also present, 
was requested to phiy something. As usual he let himself be begged 
for an infinitely long time and at last almost dragged by two ladies 
to the pianoforte. In an ill humor he grabs a second violin part of 
the Pleyel quartet from a music desk, throws it on the rack of the piano- 
forte and begins to improvise. He had never been heard to improvise 
more brilliantly, with more originality and splendor than on this even- 
ing! but through the entire improvisation there ran through the middle 
voices like a thread or cantiis firmus the notes, in themselves utterly 
.insignificant, wiiich he found on the accidentally oj)ened page of the 
quartet, upon which he built up the most daring melodies and har- 
monies in the most brilliant concerto style. Old Pleyel could show 
his amazement only by kissing his hands. After such improvisations 
Beethoven was wonX. to break out into ii ringing peal of amused laugiiter. 

Beethoven's abandonment (if there really was one) of the 
rooms in the theatre in the spring of 1<S(>1, and his su)).sequent 
relin(iuishment of the aj)arti7ients in "das Rotlie Haus" to share 
those of Hreuning, comixllcd his brother Kus|)ar to seek a lodg- 
ing of his own, which he found for the present on the Hohen 
Markt. But the new contract, with Baron Braun, gave the 
composer again a right to the ai)artments in the theatre build- 
ing, which he improved, at the same time retaining tlie dwelling 
in the Pasf|ualati house. The city directory for 180.5 gives his 

The Sketches for "Fidelio" 45 

address at the theatre, and there he received visitors; at the 
Pasqiiahiti house he was accustomed to sechide himself for work, 
forbidding his servant to admit any person whatever. In the 
summer he retired to Iletzendorf, and wrought out his opera, 
sitting in the same crotched oak in tlie Sch()nl)runn Garden where, 
four years before, he Iiad composed the "(.'hristus am Olberg." 
Thus again he had tlu-ee lodgings at the same time, as in the 
preceding summer; with this difference, that now one was no 
expense to him. The thousand times repeated story of Ries, 
that in 1804 he had four dwellings at once, is a mistake. 

Before his migration to Iletzendorf — say about the middle 
of June — Beethoven had completely sketched the music of his 
opera. This is made sufficiently certain by one of those whim- 
sical remarks that he was in the hal)it of making on the blank 
spaces of whatever manuscript he happened to have before him. 
In this case he writes: *'June 2d Finale always simpler. All 
pianoforte music also. God knows why my ])ianoforte music 
always makes the worst impression, especially when it is badly 
played." This is in the midst of sketches to the final chorus 
of the opera, and is written upon the up])er outer corner of page 
291 of the "Leonore" sketchbook which became the property 
of Mr. Paul Mendelssohn, of Berlin. The principal value of 
this manuscript lies of course in the insight which it gives the 
musician into the master's methods of composition;' but for 
the biographer the volume is by no means without its value. 
Its striking confirmation of the previously formed opinion, that 
two current notions in relation to the composition of the opera 
are erroneous, well repays the toil of studying it through. First: 
A misinterpreted sentence in Jalm's article on "Leonore, oder 
Fidelio,'* has originated and given currency to the idea that 
Beethoven's "daring enthusiasm for the welfare of men and 
their rights" led him to begin his sketches for the opera with 
the "second finale, with its hymn-like character." But the 
sketchbook, if it proves anything, proves this: that Beethoven 
began at the beginning and took up all the principal numbers 
in order, as they stood in Sonnleithner's text; that the final 
choruses were the last to be sketched; and that this sketch- 
book happens to begin in the midst of the chorus of prisoners 
(originally the second finale) because the previous studies are 

'See Nottcbohm's study of the sketches for "Fidelio" in "Zwoite Beethoveniana," 
p. 409 et seq.; also what Jahn has to say, and the results of Erich Prieger's labors 
in connection with the reprint of the original form of the opera. 

46 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

This volume contains the first sketches of Nos. 11, 18, 15a, 
17a and 18a (appendix) of Jahn's edition; Nos. 1 and 5 occur, 
but not in the original studies; Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are 
either entirely wanting or only come up in mere fragmentary 
afterthoughts, as No. 9, on page 51, where Beethoven has written 
at the top of the page: "in the duet between P. and R." and just 
below: "dann schleich ich," with a hint (4 bars of music unisono) 
for the accompaniment. Afterthoughts for the duet "Um in 
die Ehe" — Fidelio and Marcelline — occur also on pages 23, 344, 
and possibly one or two others, but not more. The studies for 
Fidelws recitative "Ach brich noch nicht" and aria "Komm 
Hoffnung" (No. 11), which are found near the end of the volume, 
seem to form a mairked exception to the rule; but if these are 
really the first sketches, their appearance after the final scenes 
is explained by two remarks in Beethoven's hand on page 344: 
"Duetto with Miiller {Marcelline) and Fidelio aside," and "Aria 
for Fidelio, another text which agrees with her." These notes 
clearly indicate a change of plan in connection with the duet, 
and that the beautiful air, "Komm Hoffnung," did not stand 
in Sonnleithner's original text. 

The other current error thoroughly exploded by the sketch- 
book is this, namely, that the noblest passages in the opera are a 
sort of spontaneous outpouring in music of feelings and sentiments 
awakened, or rendered intense and vivid, by the unfortunate 
love-affairs of the composer. Now, there is nothing from the 
first page to the last of this manuscript that conveys the impres- 
sion of any such spontaneity. Every number, as it now stands 
complete in the score, was the tardy result of persevering labor 
— of the most painstaking study. 

AVhere Jahn says: "I have not had an opportunity to study 
many of Beethoven's sketchbooks, but I have found no instance 
in which one was not compelled to recognize that the material 
chosen was not the best, or to de])lore that the material which 
he rejected had not been used," he might have added, with truth, 
that some of the first ideas noted to passages, now among 
the gems of the opera, are commonplace and trivial to such a 
degree, that one can hardly attribute them to Beethoven. Yet, 
there they are in his own hand. Jahn's compendious general 
description of the contents of this manuscri])t cannot be 
improved, excej)t in a single passage, in which, probably trusting 
his memory a little too much, he conveys the mistaken (as 
we think) impression, that the aria of Marcelline is here first 

Patient Labor on the Opera 47 

The sketches [says he] are, naturally enough, of very different 
kinds; in part they are widely varying efforts to give musical expression 
to the same text, and many numbers, like the airs of Marcelline and 
Pizarro, the grave duet, a few striking passages, appear for the first 
time with motivi wholly different from those now to be found in the 
opera. ... At other times, whole pieces are written down in a breath 
essentially as they have remained. 

This is rather too strongly expressed, unless Jahn had in mind 

the arias of Rocco and Marcelline. 

By the side of such passages are examples of indefatigable detail 
work, which cannot find a conclusion, of turning not only single motivi 
and melodies but the tiniest elements of them this way and that, 
and out of all conceivable variations to draw out the form that is 
best. One is amazed at this everlasting experimentation and cannot 
conceive how it will be possible to create an organic whole out of 
such musical scraps. But if one compares the completed art-work 
with the chaos of sketches one is overwhelmed with wonder at the cre- 
ative mind which surveyed its task so clearly, grasped the foundation 
and the outlines of the execution so firmly and surely that with all the 
sketches and attempts in details the whole grows naturally from its 
roots and develops. And though the sketches frequently create the 
impression of uncertainty and groping, admiration comes again for 
the marvelously keen self-criticism, which, after everything has been 
tested with sovereign certainty, retains the best.^ 

In the notices of the "Leonore" sketchbook, made for use 
in this work, are copied eighteen different beginnings to Florestan' s 
air, "In des Lebens Friihlingstagen," and ten to the chorus, 
"Wer ein holdes Weib"; others being omitted, because illegible 
or little more than repetitions. The studies for that wondrous 
outburst of joy, "O namenlose Freude," are numerous; but the 
first bars of the duet are the same in all of them, having been 
taken by Beethoven from an "old opera." 

It certainly seems a little like cold-blooded cruelty thus 
ruthlessly to demolish the structure of romance which has been 
rising for thirty years on the sandy foundation laid by Schindler 
in his story of the Countess Guicciardi, and of which, through 
some fancied connection, the opera "Leonore" has become an 
imposing part. But facts are stubborn things, and here they 
are irreconcilable with the romance. 

Inborn genius for musical composition, untiring industry, 
and the ambition to rival Cherubini in his own field, sufficiently 
explain the extraordinary merits of this work of Beethoven; 
want of practice and experience in operatic writing, its defects. 

Beethoven's seclusion at Hetzendorf from June to September 
(probably) and his labor of reducing the chaos of the sketch- 

ijahn, "Gesammelte Schriften," p. 244. 

48 The Life of Ludavig van Beethoven 

book into the order and beauty of the score of "Leonore" — on 
which, as he told Schindler, he wrought in the bright summer 
days, sitting in the shades of Schonbrunn — are unbroken for us 
except by his first meeting with Cherubini. Some time in July 
— for that master arrived in Vienna after the 5th of that month, 
and Vogler was in Salzburg before the 28th — "Cherubini, Beet- 
hoven and Vogler were gathered together at Sonnleithner's; every- 
body played, Vogler first, and without ceasing, so that the com- 
pany meanwhile sat down to table. Beethoven was full of atten- 
tion and respect toward Cherubini." Such is Jahn's note of 
a communication to him by Grillparzer; and Czerny told him: 
"B. did not give Cherubini a friendly reception in 1805, as the 
latter complained to Czerny later." 

At the end of the summer season Beethoven returned to 
town with his opera ready to be put in rehearsal. Here Ries 
found him. "He was really fond of me," says he, "and gave 
me a comical proof of the fact in one of his fits of absent- 
mindedness"; and Ries goes on to relate in the "Notizen": 

When I came back from Silesia, where, on Beethoven's recommen- 
dation, I had spent a considerable time as pianoforte player for Prince 
Lichnowsky on his estate, I went into his room; he was about to shave 
and had lathered himself up to the eyes (for his fearful beard extended 
so far). He jumped up, embraced me cordially and, behold! he had 
transferred the soap from his left cheek to my right so completely that 
there was nothing left of it on him. Didn't we laugh! 

With all his kindness to Ries, Beethoven had neither for- 
gotten nor forgiven the affair of the "Andante favori": 

One day when a small company including Beethoven and me 
breakfasted with Prince (Lichnowsky) after the concert in the Augarten 
(8 o'clock in the forenoon), it was proposed that we drive to Beethoven's 
house and hear his opera "Leonore," which had not yet been performed. 
Arrived there Beethoven demanded that I go away, and inasmuch 
as the most urgent appeals of all present were fruitless, I did so with 
tears in my eyes. The entire company noticed it and Prince Lichnowsky, 
following me, askod me to wait in an anteroom, because, having been 
the cause of the trouble, he wanted to have it settled. But tlie feeling 
of hurt to my honor would not admit of this. I heard afterward that 
Prince Lichnowsky had sharply rebuked Beethoven for his conduct, 
sinee only love for his works had been to })lamc for the incident and 
consequently for his anger. But the only result of these representa- 
tions was that Beethoven refused to play any more for the company. 

It so happcnc<l, that Ries thus lost his only opportunity 
ever to hear the "Leonore-Fidelio" music in its original form; 
but this Beethoven could not anticipate, as he could have no 
suspicion that they were so soon to be parted. Bonn, being now 

First Performance of '*Fidelio" 49^^ 

under French rule, Ries was liable to conscription, and notice 
came that he was among the first drawn. "He was therefore," 
says the 'Harmonicon,' "obliged to return home immediately, 
for his disobedience would have exposed his father and family 
to the risk of ruin." Before Ries' departure from Vienna, Beet- 
hoven, himself unable to afford him pecuniary assistance, again 
proved his kindly feelings towards his pupil by giving him a letter 
commending him to the benevolence of Princess Liechtenstein. 

"To Beethoven's rage," says Ries, "the letter was not delivered, 
but I kept the original, written on an unevenly cut quarto sheet, as a 
proof of Beethoven's friendship and love for me." Three years will 
elapse before we meet Ries again in Vienna — the greater part of 
which period he passed at Paris in such discouraging circumstances, 
that he thought seriously of abandoning his profession. 

At the Theater-an-der-Wien none of the new operas pro- 
duced this season had long kept the stage; although two of them 
— Schikaneder's "Swetard's Zaubergiirtel," music by Fischer, 
and his "Vesta's Feuer," music by J. Weigl — were brought out 
"with very extraordinary splendor of decorations and costumes." 
It was now Autumn and the receipts did not cover the expenses 
of the theatre. "From the distance," says Treitschke, 

the storm of war rolled towards Vienna and robbed the spectators 
of the calm essential to the enjoyment of an art-work. But just for 
this reason all possible efforts were made to enliven the sparsely attended 
spaces of the house. "Fidelio" was relied upon to do its best, and so, 
under far from happy auspices, the opera was produced on November 
20 (1805). It was possible efficiently to cast only the female parts 
with Miles. Milder and Miiller; the men left all the more to be desired. 

Anna Milder (born December 13, 1785), now just comple- 
ting her twentieth year, was that pupil of Neukomm to whom 
Haydn had said half a dozen years before: "My dear child! 
You have a voice like a house!" Schikaneder gave her her 
first engagement and she began her theatrical career April 9, 
1803, in the part of Juno in Siissmayr's "Spiegel von Arkadien," 
with a new grand aria composed for her by him. Beethoven 
had now written the part of Fidelio for her. In later years it 
was one of her grand performances; though, judging from the 
contemporary criticisms, it was now somewhat defective, simply 
from lack of stage experience. Louise Miiller, the Marcelline, 
"had already (in April, 1805) developed in a few years into a 
tasteful and honest singer, although she did not have the help 
of a voice of especial volume." She became, in the opinion of 
Castelli, "a most amiable actress and good singer, particularly 
in the comic genre." 


The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Dcmmer, "trained in Cologne," is reported in 1799, when 
singing at Frankfort-on-the-Main, as having "a firm, enduring 
voice with a high range; he played semi-comic roles admirably. 
He was best in airs in which there was little agility and more sus- 
tained declamation." Castelli praises him; but all contemporary 
accounts agree that he was not equal to the part of Florestaiiy 
for which he was now selected. 

Sebastian Meier, brother-in-law to Mozart (the musical 
reformer of this theatre), "was insignificant as a singer, but a 
valiant actor," says Castelli, who knew him most intimately. 
Schindler has an anecdote of him as Pizarro, apparently derived 
from Beethoven, to the effect that he had a high opinion of his 
own powers; that he used to swear by Mozart and confidently 
undertake everything. In view of this Beethoven resolved to 
cure him of his weakness, and to this end wrote the passage 
in Pizarro's air: 




wird sein 

Blul ver - 

rin - nen 




kriim - met 

sich der 



I'r rV^ i n 

J f l ip r '! 


the voice moves over a series of scales, played by all the strings, so 
that the singer at each note which he has to utter, hears an appogiatura 
of a minor second from the orchestra. The Pizarro of 1805 was unable 
with all his gesticulation and writhing to avoid the difficulty, the more 
since the mischievous players in the orchestra below maliciously em- 
phasized the minor second by accentuation. Don Pizarro, snorting 
with rage, was thus at the mercy of the bows of the fiddlers. Tliis aroused 
laughter. The singer, whose conceit was thus wounded, thereupon 
flew into a rage and hurled at the composer among other remarks the 
words: "My brother-in-law would never have written such damned 

AVeinkopf {Dnn Fernando) had "a pure and expressive bass 
voice," but his ])nrt was too meagre and unimportant to affect 
the success or failure of the opera. 

Incidents at the Rehearsals 51 

Cache (Jaquino), according to Castelli, was a good actor, 

who was also made serviceable in the opera because Meyer, the stage- 
manager, knew that good acting, in comic operas, was frequently more 
effective than a good voice. It was necessary to fiddle his song-parts 
into his head before he came to rehearsals. 

Rothe (Rocco) was so inferior both as actor and singer, 
that his name is not to be found in any of the ordinary sources 
of Vienna theatrical history. 

One can well believe that very considerable difficulties 
attended the performance, as Treitschke states. His words, in a 
passage above cited, as well as certain expressions of Beethoven's 
a few months later, indicate that the opera was hurriedly put upon 
the stage, and the inadequacy of the singers thus increased by the 
lack of sufficient rehearsals. Seyfried says, *'I directed the study 
of the parts with all the singers according to his suggestions, also 
all the orchestral rehearsals, and personally conducted the per- 
formance." In 1805 Seyfried was young, talented, ambitious, 
zealous, and nothing was wanting on his part to insure success. 

Speaking of the rehearsals recalls to mind one of those bursts 
of puerile wrath, which were passed over with a smile by some 
of Beethoven's friends, but gave serious offense to others. Mahler 
remembered that at one of the general rehearsals the third bassoon 
was absent; at which Beethoven fretted and fumed. Lobko- 
witz, who was present, made light of the matter: two of the 
bassoons were present, said he, and the absence of the third 
could make no great difference. This so enraged the composer, 
that, as he passed the Lobkowitz Place, on his way home, he 
could not restrain the impulse to turn aside and shout in at the 
great door of the palace: "Lobkowitzian ass!" 

There were various stumbling-blocks in the vocal score of 
"Leonore." Schindler on this point has some judicious remarks 
(in his third edition), and they are borne out by his record of 
conversations with Cherubini and Anna Milder. During his 
years of frequent intercourse with Beethoven and subsequently, 
"Leonore" was a work upon whose origin and failure he took 
much pains to inform himself, and its history as finally drawn 
up by him is much more satisfactory and correct than others 
of greater pretensions. 

Outside the narrow circle of the playhouse, weightier mat- 
ters than a new opera now occupied and agitated the minds of 
the Viennese. On the 20th October, Ulm fell. On the 30th 
Bernadotte entered Salzburg, on his way to and down the Danube. 
Vienna was defenceless. The nobility, the great bankers and 

52 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

merchants — all whose wealth enabled and whose vocations 
permitted it — precisely those classes of society in which Beet- 
hoven moved, which knew how to appreciate his music, and 
of whose sufiPrages his opera was assured, fled from the capital. 
On November 9th the Empress departed. On the 10th the 
French armies had reached and occupied the villages a few miles 
west of the city. On November 13th, about 11 o'clock in the 
forenoon, the vanguard of the enemy, IVIurat and Lannes at the 
head, 15,000 strong, representing all branches of the service, 
entered Vienna in order of battle, flags flying and music sounding. 

On the I5th, Bonaparte issued his proclamation from 
Schonbrunn, which he made his headquarters. Murat quartered 
himself in the palace of Archduke Albert; General Hulin, in that 
of Prince Lobkowitz. It was just at this most unlucky of all 
possible periods that Beethoven's opera was produced; on Novem- 
ber 20, 21 and 22. 

Beethoven's friend, Stephan von Breuning, prepared a 
pretty surprise for him by printing a short complimentary poem 
and having it distributed in the theatre at the second perform- 
ance. It is preserved in the "Notizen" (p. 34).^ Beethoven 

»To the opinions of the reviewers some attention must be given; it does not 
seem advisable to quote them in extcnso. The "Freymiithige" describes the military 
occupation of Vienna, the officers quartered in the city proper, the private soldiery 
in the suburbs. At first the theatres were empty, but gradually the French began to 
visit them and at the time of writing were more numerous in the playhouses than the Aus- 
trians. "Fidolio," the new opera by Beethoven, did not please. It was given a few 
times only and the house was empty after the first performance. The musie did not 
meet the expectations of the cognoscenti and music-lovers, lacking the passionate ex- 
pression which is so compelling in Mozart and Cherubini. The music is beautiful 
in places, but as a whole the oi)era is far from being a perfect or successful work. The 
"Zritung fiir the Elegante Welt" records that the music is "ineffective and repetitious," 
and did not add to the writer's opinion of Beethoven's talent for vocal writing formed 
on hearing his cantata ("("hristus am Olberg"). In its issue of January 8, 1S06, the 
correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zcituug" says that he had expected something very 
different, in view of Beethnv(>n's uiidisi)uled talent. Beethoven had often sacrificed 
beauty to newness and singularity and therefore something new and original had been 
experted, l)ut these were the qualities which were least noticeable. The music is 
distinguish<'d neither by invention nor execution. The overture is not comparable 
with that of "I'rornetlieus." As a rule there is nothing new in the vocal parts; they 
are generally too long, the text is ceaselessly repeated and the cliaracterization misses 
fire, as, for instance, in the duet after the recognition. A canon in the first act and 
an aria in F [E] are more successful, though the pretty accompaniment with its three 
horns obhiigato and bassoon is somewhat overioarled. The choruses, especially the 
song of the prisoners, are a failure. Dr. Henry Reeve, of Xorwich, England, one of 
the (-arliest collaborators on the *'Ediiibur<;Ii Review," then a young man of 2.5, was 
in \'ienna at the time of the French invasion and attend<'d the se<-ond representation 
of the f)pera on November 21sf. Sir Cieorge drove sent a copy of a page from his 
journal to Thayer. lie thought the plot a sad mixture of bad action and romantic 
situations, but the airs, duets and choruses wortliy of all praise. The "overtures," 
of which there was one for every act, were too artificial to be generally agreeable and 
an nj)pre<-iati<m of their beauties wmld re(juire frequent hearing. Beethoven sat 
at the pianoforte and conducted the performance — a little, dark, young-looking man, 
who wore spectacles. 

Recollections of a Singer 53 

desired to retain the original title of the opera, "Leonore," and 
the directors of the theatre have been severely censured from 
that day to this for persisting in giving and retaining the title 
"Fidelio"; but unjustly; for, considering the relations in which 
Paer stood to Baron Braun, it was surely enough to have taken 
his subject, without stealing his title. 

A young man, educated at the University of Munich, had 
for some time past been private secretary to the Bavarian Charge 
des Affaires at Salzburg. The approach of the French armies 
after the fall of Ulm made his position and prospects very un- 
certain. It was just then that an agent of Baron Braun came 
thither in search of a young, fresh tenor to succeed Demmer, 
whose powers were fast yielding to time. The engagement was 
offered him and thus it came about, that J. A. Rockel, in the 
Autumn of 1805, became first tenor in the Theater-an-der-Wien. 
After appearing in divers characters with much success, con- 
sidering his inexperience, he was offered the part of Florestan 
in the contemplated revival of "Fidelio." A conversation with 
the singer at Bath in April, 1861, is authority for these partic- 
ulars, and a letter from him dated February 26 of the same year 
adds more. Rockel WTote: 

It was in December, 1805 — the opera house An-der-Wien and 
both the Court theatres of Vienna having been at that time under 
the intendance of Baron Braun, the Court Banker — when Mr. Meyer, 
brother-in-law to Mozart and Regisseur of the opera An-der-Wien, 
came to fetch me to an evening meeting in the palace of Prince Charles 
Lichnowsky, the great patron of Beethoven. "Fidelio" was already 
a month previously performed An-der-Wien — unhappily just after 
the entrance of the French, when the city was shut against the suburbs. 
The whole theatre was taken up by the French, and only a few friends 
of Beethoven ventured to hear the opera. These friends were now 
at that soiree, to bring Beethoven about, to consent to the changes 
they wanted to introduce in the opera in order to remove the heavi- 
ness of the first act. The necessity of these improvements was already 
acknowledged and settled among themselves. Meyer had prepared 
me for the coming storm, when Beethoven should hear of leaving 
out three whole numbers of the first act. 

At the soiree were present Prince Tichnowsky and the Princess, 
his lady, Beethoven and his brother Kaspar, [Stephan] von Breuning, 
[Heinrich] von Collin, the poet, the tragedian Lange (another brother- 
in-law to Mozart), Treitschke, Clement, leader of the orchestra, Meyer 
and myself; whether Kapellmeister von Seyfried was there I am not 
certain any more, though I should think so. 

I had arrived in Vienna only a short time before, and met Beetho- 
ven there for the first time. 

As the whole opera was to be gone through, we went directly to 
work. Princess L. played on the grand piano the great score of the 

54 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

opera and Clement, sitting in a corner of the room, accompanied with 
his violin the whole opera by heart, playing all the solos of the differ- 
ent instruments. The extraordinary memory of Clement having been 
universally known, nobody was astonished by it, except myself. Meyer 
and I made ourselves useful, by singing as well as we could, he (basso) 
the lower, I the higher parts of the opera. Though the friends of Beet- 
hoven were fully prepared for the impending battle, they had never 
seen him in that excitement before, and without the prayers and en- 
treaties of the very delicate and invalid princess, who was a second 
mother to Beethoven and acknowledged by himself as such, his united 
friends were not likely to have succeeded in this, even to themselves, 
very doubtful enterprise. But when after their united endeavors 
from seven till after one o'clock, the sacrifice of the three numbers 
was accomplished, and when we, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, went 
to restore ourselves by a splendid supper — then, none was happier 
and gayer than Beethoven. Had I seen him before in his fury, I saw 
him now in his frolics. When he saw me, opposite to him, so intently 
occupied with a French dish, and asked me what I was eating, and I 
answered: "I don't know!" with his lion- voice he roared out: "He 
eats like a wolf — without knowing what! Ha, ha, ha!" 

The condemned three numbers were: 

1. A great aria with chorus of Pizarro; 

2. A comic duo between Leonora (Fidelio) and Marcelline, with violin 

and violoncello solo; 

3. A comic terzetto between Marcelline, Jacquino and Rocco. 

Many years after, Mr. Schindler found the scores of these three 
pieces amongst the rubbish of Beethoven's music, and got them 
as a present from him. 

A question has been raised as to the accuracy of Rockel's 
memory in his statement of the numbers cancelled on this occa- 
sion; to which it may be remarked, that the particulars of this 
first and extraordinary meeting with Beethoven would naturally 
impress themselves very deeply upon the memory of the young 
singer; that the numbers to be condemned had been previously 
agreed upon by the parties opposed to the composer in the trans- 
action, and doubtless made known to R()ckel; that Rockel's 
relations to ]Mcyer were such as to render it in the highest degree 
improbable, that he should confound Rocco\s gold aria with either 
of the Pizarro airs with chorus belonging to Meyer's part; that 
both of these belong to the first and second original acts — i. e., 
to the first act of the opera as Rockel knew it; that he 
(Rockel) in his letter to the writer is not reporting upon the 
pieces actually omitted in the subsequent performance three or 
four months later, but ui)()n those which, at this meeting, Beet- 
hoven was with great difficulty persuaded to omit: that the 
objections made to them were not to the music, but because 
they retarded the action; and, therefore, that the decision now 

Works Published in 1805 55 

reached was by no means final, provided the end desired could 
be attained in some other way. Perhaps it may yet appear 
that Beethoven, now cunningly giving way, succeeded in win- 
ning the game, and retaining all three of the pieces condemned. 
Outside theatrical circles we catch also a glimpse or two of 
Beethoven in these months. Pierre Baillot, the violinist, was 
in Vienna just before the French invasion on his way to Moscow, 
and was taken by Anton Reicha to see Beethoven. 

They did not find him in his lodgings but in a by no means elegant 
inn in the Vorstadt. What first attracted the attention of the French- 
man was that Beethoven did not have the bulldog, gloomy expression 
which he had expected from the majority of his portraits; he even 
thought he recognized an expression of good-nature in the face of the 
composer. The conversation had just got well under way when it 
was interrupted by a terrific snore. It came from a stableman or 
coachman who was taking his little nap in a corner of the room. 
Beethoven gazed at the snorer a few moments attentively and then 
broke out with the words: "I wish I were as stupid as that fellow. "* 

Schindler closes his account of these last five years in Beet- 
hoven's life with great propriety and elegance by quoting a pas- 
sage copied by the master from Christian Sturm's "Betrach- 
tungen." It is made up of scattered sentences which may be 
found on page 197 of the ninth edition (Reutlingen, 1827): 

To the praise of Thy goodness I must confess that Thou hast tried 
all means to draw me to Thee. Now it hath pleased Thee to let me 
feel the heavy hand of Thy wrath, and to humiliate my proud heart 
by manifold chastisements. Sickness and misfortune hast Thou sent 
to bring me to a contemplation of my digressions. But one thing 
only do I ask, O God, cease not to labor for my improvement. Only 
let me, in whatsoever manner pleases Thee, turn to Thee and be fruit- 
ful of good works. 

The publications for the year 1805 were the Two Easy 
Sonatas, G minor and G major. Op. 49, advertised by the Kunst- 
und Industrie-Comptoir, on January 23; Trio (arranged from 
the Septet) for Pf., Violin (or Clarinet) and Violoncello, E-flat, 
Op. 38, advertised by the same institution on the same date; 
Prelude for the Pf., F minor, advertised by the same on January 
30; Romance for Violin and Orchestra, F major. Op. 50, adver- 
tised by the same on May 15; Sonata in C major for Pf., Op. 53, 
dedicated to Count Waldstein, advertised with the Romance; 
song, "An die Hoffnung," Op. 32, advertised by the same on 
September 18; Six Variations for Pf. four hands, on "Ich denke 

i"Signale fur die Musikalische Welt," June 21, 1866. 

56 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Dein," advertised by the same on January 23; Minuet in E-flat 
for Pf., advertised by same on January 30; Scene and Air, "Ah, 
perfido! spergiuro," in pianoforte score, published by Hoffmann 
and Kiihnel. 

The compositions which were completed were the opera 
"Leonore" ("Fidelio") in its first form; the Concerto for Pf. 
and Orchestra, G major, Op. 58 (this on the authority of Notte- 
bohm); the Pf. Sonata in F major. Op. 54; perhaps also may 
be added the Concerto for Pf., Violin and Violoncello, C major. 
Op. 56. It was sketched at the beginning of the year and was 
written, as Schindler states, for Archduke Rudolph, Seidler, violin, 
and Kraft, violoncello; it may well have been completed so as 
to be played by the winter of 1805-180G. 

Chapter IV 

The Year 1806— Repetition of "Fidelio"— Changes in the 
Opera — Its Withdrawal — Journey to Silesia — Correspon- 
dence with Thomson — ^The Scottish Songs. 

EXCERPTS from a letter written on June 2, 1806, by 
Stephan von Breuning to his sister and brother-in-law, 
make a fair opening for the story of the year 1806. In 
it he reports on "Fidelio." The letter, though written in the mid- 
dle of the year, has reference to the period between the original 
performance late in 1805 and the repetition in the spring of 1806, 
a period in which it would seem, from the absence of all epistolary 
writings, Beethoven was in no mood, or too much occupied other- 
wise, for correspondence. Von Breuning writes: 

Nothing, perhaps, has caused Beethoven so much vexation as this 
work, the value of which will be appreciated only in the future. . . . Beet- 
hoven, who had also observed a few imperfections in the treatment of the 
text in the opera, withdrew it after three representations. After order 
had been restored he and I took it up again. I remodelled the whole 
book for him, quickening and enlivening the action; he curtailed many 
pieces, and then it was performed three ^ times wnth great success. Now, 
however, his enemies in the theatre arose, and as he had offended several 
persons, especially at the second representation, they succeeded in pre- 
venting further performances. Before this, many obstacles had been 
placed in his way; to let one instance stand as proof for the others, he 
could not even get permission to secure an announcement of the opera 
under the changed title "Fidelio," as it is called in the French original, 
and as it was put into print after the changes were made. Contrary to 
promise the first title "Leonore" appeared on the poster. This is all the 
more unpleasant for Beethoven since the cessation of the performances on 
which he was depending for his honorarium, which consists in a percentage 
of the receipts, has embarrassed him in a financial way. He will recover 
from the set-back all the more slowly since the treatment which he has 
received has robbed him of a great deal of his pleasure in and love for 
work. . . . 

The words "Fidelio" and "Leonore" are here misplaced, 
interchanged, whether by Breuning or his copyist is not known. 

^Twice only. 

58 The Life of Ludt^tig vax Beethoven 

The letter is a reflection of Beethoven's disappointment and in- 
dignation at fancied injuries; it was written in ignorance of divers 
material facts, and contains inaccuracies, which — since its pub- 
lication by Wegeler in 1838 — have colored many attempts to write 
the early history of the opera. 

It is a circumstance, noteworthy and not easily to be explained, 
that Breuning, instead of Sonnleithner, revised the text and made 
the new disposition of the scenes. For the alterations and sup- 
pressions, both in the text and the music, made at this time, the 
reader is referred to the edition of "Leonore" prepared by Otto 
Jahn, and published by Breitkopf and Hartel in 1852, and the 
preface to the edition of the "Fidelio" of 180o published by Erich 

At the performances in November, the effect of the overture 
had been ruined by a passage in the Allegro, which was too dif- 
ficult for the wood-wind instruments. "Instead of simply removing 
this obstacle (31 measures)," says Schindler, "Beethoven thought 
it advisable to rewrite the whole, inasmuch as he was already 
engaged upon a revision of other parts of the work. He retains the 
motivi of the Introduction as well as the Allegro, has the motive 
of the latter played by violoncellos and violins simultaneously for 
the sake of greater sonority, and on the existing foundation rears 
a new structure, including several new thoughts."^ 

^In the chapter immediately preceding the present one in the revised German 
edition of this biography. Dr. Riemann introduces the following: "Through the efforts 
of Otto Jahn, Gustav Xottebohm and Erich Prieger, it has been made possible meas- 
urably to observe the transformations which 'Fidelio' underwent between its first 
production and its publication. The mysterious disappearance (possibly theft) of 
several scores made it extremely difficult to determine the form in which it was rep- 
resented — 'Fidelio' in three acts in 1805, 'Leonore' in two acts in 1806, and 'Fidelio' 
in two acts in 1814 — the statements touching the omissions and restorations of single 
numbers being insufficient and not free from contradictions. About 1850, however. 
Otto Jahn succeeded in putting together a score of the second revision of 1806 from 
the separate parts; of this he published a vocal score with pianoforte accompaniment 
towards the close of 1853 through Breitkopf and Hartel. He also gave some hints con- 
cerning its variations from the score of 1805. After another half-century Erich Prieger 
collected the material for a restoration of the work as it was at the first production 
in 1805, compiled a vocal score and gave it to the public through Breitkopf and 
Hartel. More than that — he occasioned its performance at the centennial celebration 
in the Royal Opera House in Berlin." From Prieger's preface we take in part the 
following statements : 

"In 1807 Breitkopf and Hartel published three numbers from the second revision 
of 1806 — viz: the Trio in E-flat, 'Fin Mann ist bald gewonncn' (afterwards elided), 
the canon quartet, and the duet 'Gut, Sohnchen, gut'; not until 1810 was a vocal 
score of the second version published. It came from the press of Breitkopf and Har- 
tel, but was without overtures and finales. The overture in C, Xo. 3, which was per- 
formed with the opera in 1806, was published by Breitkopf and Hartel, also in 1810; 
the overture in C, No. i. with which the representation of 1805 began, edited by Otto 
Jahn, was published by B. and H. at the end of 1853. (It was performed in Leipsic on 
January i7 of that year.) Nottebohm notes the performance of the four overtures 
on January 11, 1840, and a publication in 1842; but this refers to the work as dis- 
figured by cuts. The so-called 'first' C major overture found amongst Beethoven's 

The Overtures to "Fidelio" 59 

And thus for Beethoven the winter passed. To compete 
with successful new works which Schikaneder offered the Vienna 
audiences of 1806, was no light matter; and it is easy to imagine, 

posthumous effects and published by Haslinger as Op. 138 is in reality the first of the 
series, the one which, according to Schindler's report (third edition, I, lil), was tried 
over once at Prince Lichnowsky's and put aside as too simple, but purchased at once 
by Haslinger. It is true that Xottebohm discovered sketches for the overture in 
company with sketches for the symphony in C minor and, from this fact, argued that 
the overture had been composed between April, 1807, and December, 1808 (see 
'Beethoveniana,' pp. 60 et seq.)\ but in his analysis of the sketchbook of 1803, extending 
from October, 180£, to April, 1804, he shows the presence of sketches for 'Leonore' among 
such for the 'Eroica,' which proves that Beethoven worked on the opera as early as 1803 
and that 'these labors were so far advanced when the performance of Paer's opera became 
known (October 3, 1804) that there could be no thought of an abandonment.' But 
this demolishes the theory that Op. 138 must have been composed in 1807-08, and 
we are compelled to believe with Kalischer that Schindler's account is correct and 
that Haslinger (Steiner and Co.) had for years been in possession of the first overture 
to 'Leonore' which 'had been laid aside after a trial in 1805,' and that in 1823, at 
a time when Schindler was Beethoven's confidant, the composer demanded that it 
be published and Haslinger refused, saying: 'We bought those manuscripts and paid 
for them; consequently they are our property, and we can do with them as we will.' 
Only one thing remains problematical, and that is, what could have persuaded Has- 
linger to state that he had found the overture in a packet of dances which he pur- 
chased at the sale of Beethoven's effects. Kalischer calls attention to a letter from 
Fanny Hensel to Rebekka Dirichlet, written after the music festival at Diisseldorf 
in 1836 under the direction of Mendelssohn (see 'Die Familie Mendelssohn,' II, 9): 
'Oh, Becky! We have got acquainted with an overture to 'Leonore'; a new piece. It 
is notorious that it has never been played; it did not please Beethoven and he put 
it aside. The man had no taste! It is so refined, so interesting, so fascinating that 
I know few things which can be compared with it. Haslinger has printed a whole 
edition and will not release it. Perhaps he will do so after this success.' That seems 
to have been the case; but Haslinger permitted the work to be played as early as 
February 7, 18£8, at a concert of Bernhard Romberg's and elsewhere. In his book 
'Beethoven's Studien im Generalbass, etc.,' 1832, Sej'fried connects this overture 
with the project, never carried out, of a production of the opera in Prague in 1807. 
'For the theatre in Prague,' he says, 'Beethoven wrote a less diflScult overture which. 
Haslinger, afterward R. I. Court Music Dealer, acquired at auction; to which Has- 
linger replied: 'This overture is already engraved in score and orchestral parts and, 
together with other arrangements of it, will yet appear in the course of this year.' 
Nottebohm, too, con^nnced that the sketches for the overture had to be placed in 1807, 
and doubtless influenced by Seyfried's statement, accepted the theory that it had 
been intended for Prague. Se\"fried"s statement, however, in view of the involved story 
of the manuscript in the hands of Haslinger, lacks credibility, and is probably to be 
charged to the account of Haslinger, who maj- not have wanted to tell the truth for 
fear that it might lessen the market value of the work." — 

To this the English editor feels in duty bound to say that Xottebohm's argu- 
ment seems to him at all points invulnerable. The autograph of the overture is no 
longer in existence. The score bought by Haslinger and the parts are copies which. 
Beethoven corrected. On the first violin part the copyist had written "Ouvertura"; 
Beethoven added "in C, Characteristic Overture." Under this title the composition 
was announced by Haslinger in 1S£8. He did not publish it at the time, but there 
were many references to it at its performance at Romberg's concert and at other 
times as a "Characteristic" overture which had been found among Beethoven's post- 
humous papers. Between 1828 and 1832, when Haslinger finally gave the work to 
the public, somebody made the discovery, which ought to have been made at 
sight of the manuscript, certainly at the first performance in 1828 (the melody of 
Florestan's song occurring in it as one of the themes), that there was a connection 
between it and "Fidelio." When Haslinger published it, therefore, he abandoned 
the title under which he had announced it four years before, and called it: "Over- 
ture in C, composed in the year 1805 for the opera 'Leonore,' etc." Every student 
knows how valuable Xottebohm's studies of the sketches are in the determination 
of dates. Composers usually write the overtures to their operas last; indeed, they 

60 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

that Beethoven felt this, and determined, at all events in his 
own field of instrumental composition, to leave no doubt who was 
master. Hence, that monumental work, the great overture to 
"Leonore'* in its second form. He was, as usual, dilatory in 
meeting his engagements. January and February passed and 
March drew to its close, and the overture was not ready. This 
was too much for Baron Braun's patience. He, therefore, selected 
the best night of the season — Saturday, March 29, the last before 
the closing of the theatre for Holy Week and Easter — and gave 
Beethoven distinctly to understand, that if the opera was not 
performed on that evening, it should not be given at all. This 
was effectual and the new score was sent in; but so late, as Rockel 
well remembered, as to allow but two or three rehearsals with 
pianoforte and one only with orchestra; and these were directed 
by Sej'iried — the composer appearing at neither. 

Beethoven and Breuning supposed that a change of title from 
"Fidelio" to "Leonore" had been agreed to by the directors, and 
indeed the new text-book and Breuning's poem on the occasion 
were so printed; but it was determined otherwise. By the new 
arrangement of the scenes, the number of acts was reduced to 
two. The new playbill therefore substitutes "Opera in two Acts" 
for "three"; excepting this, the change of date, and of Rockel's 

must do so when utilizing thematic material drawn from the vocal numbers. Mr. 
Thayer has already called attention to the fact that the vocal numbers were taken 
up in the order of their occurrence, as Beethoven's sketches show. They also show 
that the overture was sketched after all the vocal numbers had been planned. And 
the overture thus sketched was that known as No. 2. There is no hint of the over- 
ture No. 1 in the sketches made in 1S04> and the beginning of 180.5. Schindler says 
that Haslinger bought the overture imraedialcly after it had been laid aside by Beet- 
hoven. That would have been in ISO.). But Haslinger was not in Vienna till 1810. 
If Steiner and Co., with which firm Haslinger associated himself shortly after his arrival 
in the Austrian capital and of which the firm of Tobias Haslinger was the successor, 
was meant by Schindler, it remains a mystery that the publishers, so intimately con- 
nected with Beethoven, should have kept an overture under lock and key for 23 years 
and then have given it out as a work bought at the sale of Beethoven's effects. That 
circumstance could only awaken the suspicion that the composer did not think it worthy 
of his name and fame. If he did so think, he would not have demanded that Haslinger 
publish it in 1823. Judging by internal evidence the overture certainly seems to be 
an earlier work than the overtures which the world knows by the titles "Leonore," 
Nos. 2 anil 3; but contemijorary reports fa letter from N'iettna printed in the "Journal 
des Luxus tind der .Moden, " Weimar, 1808) olfer evidence in addition to the testimony 
of Seyfried that Beethoven <lid write a new overture for the projected Prague per- 
formance. No doul)t Beethoven was convinced, soon after the revival in 1806, that 
the third "lA-onore" was too long and too severe a piece for its purpose; he was still of 
that opinion wlien he reviserl the ojjera for tin; revival of 1814, as is <'videnced by his 
composing the "l''ideIio" overture in K, and. more than that, consenting to the use 
of the overture to "The Ruins of Athens" at the first performance. Mr. Thayer was 
quite as capable of judging of the value of the <'vidence in the case as his erlitors; he 
was familiar with N'otteliohm'st contention; and in his history of the year 1807 he un- 
hesitatingly sets down the overture known as "Leonore, No. 1" as that designed for 
Prague. There is no new evideiiee so far as this writer knows which could justify 
a reversal of the opinion which has prevailed amongst musical scholars since 1872. 

Unsuccessful Performances 61 

for Demmer's name as Florestan, it is a facsimile of the pre- 
vious ones, and announces: "Fidelio oder die Eheliche Liebe." 
For this determination the directors may well have urged, not 
only a proper regard for the composer of "Sargino" and the 
(Italian) "Leonore," but the manifest impropriety of misleading 
the public by giving a new title to a work which remained essentially 
unchanged. As on the original production, Breuning wrote a 
poem: "To Herr Ludwig van Beethoven, on the occasion of the re- 
production of the opera composed by him and first performed on 
November 20, 1805, now given under the new title 'Leonore.' " 

The correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zeit.," under date of 
April 2, writes: "Beethoven has again produced his opera 'Fidelio' 
on the stage with many alterations and abbreviations. An 
entire act has been omitted, but the piece has benefited and pleased 
better." On Thursday, the 10th, it was given again. The fol- 
lowing letters from Beethoven to Sebastian Meier, referring to 
this performance, complain of "many blunders" in the choruses, 
ask for new rehearsals, and say: 

Please ask Mr. Seyfried to conduct my opera to-day, I want to look 
at and hear it from a distance, thus at least my patience will not be so 
greatly tried as if I were to hear my music bungled close at hand! I 
cannot think otherwise than that it is done purposely. I will say 
nothing about the wind-instruments, but that all fp, crescendo, all 
decres. and aAlJorte, ff, have been elided from my opera; at any rate they 
are not played. All delight in composing departs when one hears it 
(one's music) played thus ! 

Seyfried's autograph record of all performances in the Theater- 
an-der-Wien, through a long series of years, gives "Sargino" 
instead of "Fidelio," for Saturday the 12th — and "Agnes Ber- 
nauer" for the Sunday and Monday following. That this old, 
well-known drama was so repeated affords a strong presumption 
that an opera — we think "Fidelio" — was withdrawn "because 
obstacles had suddenly appeared" after it was too late to supply 
its place with another. At all events, the production of "Fidelio" 
on Thursday, April 10th, was the last; for which fact, two explan- 
ations are given — that in Breuning's letter, and one by Rockel in 
his letter to the author. Breuning attributes it to the composer's 
enemies — to a cabal, to "several persons whom Beethoven had 
offended, especially at the second representation"; Rockel, to 
Beethoven's own imprudence and folly. 

Breuning, a Secretary in the War Office, could have had little 
leisure for theatrical matters in those melancholy days during 
the French occupation and immediately after; it is a cause of 

62 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

surprise, that he found time for the revision of the "Fidelio" 
text; his record, therefore, could hardly have been made except 
upon the representations of his friend — the last man to admit 
that he was in fault. But Rockel was behind the scenes in a 
double sense: he sang the part of Florestan and while Beethoven's 
"friends were, most of them, married men, not able to walk and 
dine out with him (as he writes) like myself, another bachelor, 
to whom he took a fancy — I could call upon him in the morning 
and in fine weather stroll and dine with him in the country." 
Breuning and Rockel are alike men of unimpeachable veracity; 
but the latter speaks from personal knowledge and observation. 

Breuning's statement is improbable. Who were Beethoven's 
enemies.'^ Who formed the cabal .^ Baron Braun, Schikaneder, 
Seyfried, the Stage-manager Meier, Director Clement, the solo 
singers (Mile. Milder, Weinkopf, Rockel), were all his friends; 
and, for anything now known, so were Mile. JNIiiller, Rothe and 
Cache. As to orchestra and chorus, they might refuse to play 
under Beethoven as conductor — nothing more; and, as he had 
already conducted four if not five times, this would create no 
great difficulty, as the baton would necessarily pass into the hands 
of Seyfried at the first or second subsequent performance. More- 
over, now that the opera was fairly upon the stage and making 
its way, it was for the interest of all parties, from Baron Braun 
down to the scene-shifters, to continue it so long as it would draw 
an audience. That it was making its way is proved not only 
by all the contemporary accounts, but by this: that notwith- 
standing the necessarily empty houses in November, Beethov^en's 
percentage of the receipts finally amounted to nearly 200 

In the second of the notes to Meier, Beethoven is guilty of 
monstrous injustice. A moment's reflection shows this. The 
orchestra and chorus had duly rehearsed and three times pub- 
licly performed "Fidelio" as first written. Since then (see Jahn's 
edition) most of the numbers, perhaps every one, had been 
more or less changed. Now every musician knows that it is 
easier to play a ])iece of new music corrt^-tly at sight, than a well- 
known composition in which material alterations have been made. 
And yet, because some forty men — playing on a dozen different 
instruments, and aft<'r a single reluvirsal at which the com])oser 
was not present to explain his intentions— did not effect the 
impossibility of reading the music correctly and at the same time 
note all the nuirks of expression, Beethoven writes: "I cannot 
think otherwise than that is done purposely!" 

The Composer in a Rage 63 

All things considered, there can be no hesitation in preferring 
the testimony of the singer of Florestan, to that of the Court 
War Councillor. 

When the opera was produced in the beginning of the following 
year (writes Rockel) it was exceedingly well received by a select public, 
which became more numerous and enthusiastic with each new representa- 
tion; and no doubt the opera would have become a favorite if the evil 
genius of the composer had not prevented it, and as he, Beethoven, was 
paid for his work by a percentage, instead of a mere honorarium, an 
advantage which none enjoyed before him, it would have considerably 
advanced his pecuniary arrangements. Having had no theatrical ex- 
perience, he was estimating the receipts of the house much higher than 
they really were; he believed himself cheated in his percentage, and with- 
out consulting his real friends on such a delicate point, he hastened to 
Baron Braun — that high-minded and honorable nobleman — and sub- 
mitted his complaint. The Baron, seeing Beethoven excited and con- 
scious of his one susceptibility (i. e., suspicious temper), did what he could 
to cure him of his suspicions against his employees, of whose honesty he 
was sure. Were there any fraud, the Baron said, his own loss would be 
beyond comparison more considerable than Beethoven's. He hoped 
that the receipts would increase with each representation; until now, 
only the first ranks, stalls and pit were occupied; by and by the upper 
ranks would likewise contribute their shares. 

"I don't write for the galleries! " exclaimed Beethoven. 

"No.'^" replied the Baron, "My dear Sir, even Mozart did not dis- 
dain to write for the galleries." 

Now it was at an end. "I will not give the opera any more," said 
Beethoven, "I want my score back." Here Baron Braun rang the bell, 
gave orders for the delivery of the score to the composer, and the opera 
was buried for a long time. From this encounter between Beethoven 
and Baron Braun one might conclude that the former's feelings had been 
injured by the comparison with Mozart; but since he revered Mozart 
highly, it is probable that he took offence more at the manner in which 
they were uttered than at the words themselves. — He now realized plainly 
that he had acted against his own interests, and in all probability the 
parties would have come to an amicable understanding through the medi- 
ation of friends if Baron Braun had not very soon after retired from the 
management of the united theatres, a circumstance that led to a radical 
change of conditions. 

In truth, Beethoven had overshot the mark. The overture 
was too novel in form and grand in substance to be immediately 
understood; and, in 1806, there was not an audience in Europe 
able to find, in the fire and expression of the principal vocal num- 
bers, an adequate compensation for the superficial graces and 
melodic beauties of the favorite operas of the time, and which 
seemed to them to be wanting in "Fidelio." Even Cherubini, 
who was all this time in Vienna, failed to comprehend fully a 
work which, though a first and only experiment, was destined to 

64 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

an ever-increasing popularity, when nearly all his own then 
universally admired operas had disappeared from the stage. 
Schindler records that he "told the musicians of Paris concern- 
ing the overture that because of its confusion of modulations he 
was unable to recognize the principal key." And farther, that he 
(Cherubini), in listening to "Fidelio," had come to the conclusion 
that till then Beethoven had paid too little heed to the art of 
singing, for which Salieri was not to blame. 

In 1836, Schindler conversed with the Fidelio of 1805-06, 
Madame Milder-Hauptmann, on the subject: "She said, among 
other things, that she, too, had had severe struggles with the mas- 
ter chiefly about the unbeautiful, unsingable passages, unsuited 
to her voice, in the Adagio of the air in E major — but all in vain, 
until, in 1814, she declared that she would never sing the air again 
in its then shape. That worked." 

Anselm Hiittenbrenner, who became a pupil of Salieri a 
dozen years later, wrote in a letter to Ferdinand Luib, under date 
February 21, 1858: "Speaking of Beethoven Salieri told me the 
composer had submitted 'Fidelio' to him for an opinion: he had 
taken exception to many things and advised Beethoven to make 
certain changes; but Beethoven had 'Fidelio' performed just as 
he had written it — and never visited Salieri again." These last 
words are too strong; Beethoven's pique against his old master 
was in time forgotten; for Moscheles (also in a letter to Luib) 
writes on February 28, 1858: "I cannot recall seeing Schubert at 
Salieri's, but I do remember the interesting circumstance that 
once I saw a sheet of paper lying at Salieri's on which in great 
letters written by Beethoven were the words: 'The pupil Beet- 
hoven was here!* " 

A letter by Beethoven to Baron von Braun refers to the 
incidents just described and asks permission to get from the 
theatre orchestral parts, as follows: 

Flauto prima, the three trombones and the fonr horn parts of my 
opera. I need tliesc |)arts, })ut only for a day, in order to have a few 
trifles coj)ied for myself which could not be written into the score for want of 
room, also hcf-ause Prince Lobkountz thinks of giving the opera at his house 
and has askod it of inc. 

There were otlicr reasons why Beethoven desired to render his 
score perfect. ^^lK'ther the opera was performed in the Lobko- 
witz palace is not recorded; but Breuning ends his letter of June 
2nd thus: "I will not write you the news that Prince Lichnowsky 
has now sent the oj)era to the Queen of Prussia, and that I hope 

IVIarriage of Karl Kaspar van Beethoven 65 

the performances in Berlin will show the Viennese what they have 
at home." 

Breuning's hope was vain; the opera was not given in Berlin. 

The order of time requires a passing notice of a family 
event which proved in the end a cause of infinite trouble and vex- 
ation to Beethoven and all connected with him by the ties of 
kindred or friendship. Whether his brother Kaspar's salary was 
increased above 250 florins, before his appointment in 1809 as 
Liquidators'-iidjunct with 1000 florins and 160 fl. for lodgings, does 
not appear; beyond a doubt it had been. But, be this as it may, 
he now found himself in a position to marry, and on the 25th of 
May "a marriage contract was closed between Carl Caspar v. 
Beethoven, R. I. Officer of the Revenue, and of this city (Vienna) 
and Theresia Reiss, daughter of Anton Reiss, civilian, upholsterer." 
Their only child, a son, was born — according to the baptismal 
certificate — on September 4th, 1806. 

Reiss was a man of considerable wealth, for one in his sphere 
of life, and able, it is said, to give his daughter a marriage portion 
of 2000 florins; it appears, too, that the valuable house in the 
Alservorstadt, owned by Karl at the time of his death, was an 
inheritance of his wife from her father's estate; indeed, half the 
right to the property was legally secured to her. So much 
has been wantonly and falsely written upon this marriage and 
its consequences, as to render it proper to add here: Karl van 
Beethoven's character and temperament were not fitted to render 
a wife permanently happy; on the other hand his wife, before her 
husband's death, dishonored him by an intrigue with a medical 
student; but there is no reason whatever to believe that the mar- 
riage, at the time it took place, was not considered a good one for, 
and by, all parties concerned. 

The notices of Beethoven's own movements during this year 
are scanty. "Fidelio" and studies to instrumental works em- 
ployed him during the winter (1805-6), but not to the exclusion of 
the claims of social intercourse, as one of his characteristic mem- 
oranda indicates. It is written with lead pencil on a page of the 
new quartet sketches: "Just as you are now plunging into the 
whirlpool of society — just so possible is it to compose operas in 
spite of social obstacles. Let your deafness no longer be a secret 
— even in art." 

Breuning's report (June 2), that Beethoven "had lost a great 
deal of his pleasure in and love for work," had even then ceased 
to be true. On the 26th of May, the first of the Rasoumowski 
Quartets had been begun — and with it began a series of works 

66 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

which distinguished the year 1806 as one of astonishing productive- 
ness — but more on this point in due time. It is quite certain 
that he took no summer lodgings: this and other considerations 
confirm Schindler's statement, that, when the revision of a copy 
of his opera for Berlin had been finished, he went into Hungary 
to enjoy "a short rest with his friend Count Brunswick." Thence 
he journeyed into Silesia to the seat of Prince Lichnowsky near 

Two documents now come up for consideration w^hich fill a 
hiatus left by the author in the original edition of this work. They 
are the letters to which reference was made by the English editor 
in his comments on Beethoven's love-affairs (Vol. I, p. 344). 
Both are addressed to Breitkopf and Hartel, the first dated 
*'Vienna, July 5, 1806," the second "Gratz, den 3ten Heumonath, 
1806" — "Heumonath" meaning July. The inaccuracy of the 
latter date is too obvious to call for extended comment; Beethoven 
could not apologize on the third day of the month for tardiness in 
replying to a letter in answer to one which he had dispatched on the 
fifth. It is not permissible to play fast and loose with Beethoven's 
dates, despite their frequent faultiness; we must accept them when 
they are upheld by corroborative evidence, but reject them when it 
is plainly impossible to conceive them as correct. In explanation 
of the obvious incorrectness of the second date it is suggested that 
when Beethoven wrote "Heumonath," i. e., July, he meant to 
write "Herbstmonath," i. e., September. Irrespective of their 
dates, however, the letters furnish evidence of Beethoven's 
creative activity during the summer of 1806. The first letter is 
as follows: 

Vienna, July 5, 1806. 

I inform you that my brother is going to Leipsic on business of his 
chancelhiry and I have given him to carry the overture to my opera in 
pianoforte arrangement, my oratorio and a new pianoforte concerto — 
you may also negotiate with him touching some new violin quartets of 
which I have already completed one and am purposing to devote myself 
ahnost wholly to this work. As soon as you have come to an under- 
standing with my brother I will send you the pianoforte arrangement of 
my opera — you may also have the score. 

I hear that the symphony which I sent you last year and which you 
returned to me has been roundly abused in the Musikal. Zeitung, I have 
not read it, if you think that you do me harm by this you are mistaken, 
on the contrary you bring your newspaper into discredit by such things — 
all the more since I have not made any secret of the fact that you sent back 
thiii symphony and other conij)ositions — Please present my compliments 
to Ilcrr V. llochlitz, I hope his bad blood toward me has become a little 
diluted, say to him that i am by no means so ignorant of foreign 

Negotiations with Breitkopf and Hartel 67 

literature not to know that Herr v. Rochlitz has written some very pretty 
things, and if I should ever come to Leipsic I am convinced that we shall 
become right good friends without causing injury or loss to his criticisms. . . . 

The pianoforte concerto referred to is that in G major, Op. 58; 
the Quartets, the set Op. 59; the symphony, the "Eroica." The 
second letter was written from Prince Lichnowsky's castle, Gratz, 
near Troppau in Silesia. Breitkopf and Hartel's endorsement 
shows that it was received and answered in September: 

Gratz, Heu-Monath 3rd, 1806. 

Rather too much to do and the little journey here I could not 
answer your letter at once — although I at once decided to accept your 
offer, since my comfort, too, will be promoted by such an arrangement and 
many unavoidable disorders obviated — I willingly obligate myself not 
to sell any more of my works to any one except you nor abroad except 
in the cases now specified, viz: whenever advantageous offers are made 
to me by foreign publishers I will inform you of the fact; and if you are 
otherwise inclined I will at once arrange that you shall have the same work 
for Germany for a smaller honorarium. — The second case is this: if I 
should leave Germany, which is easily possible, that you may still •par- 
ticipate as above, if you so desire — If these conditions are agreeable to 
you write me — I believe the plan mutually helpful — as soon as I learn 
your opinion of the matter — you may have at once 3 violin quartets, a 
new pianoforte concerto, a new symphony, the score of my opera and 
my oratorio. 

My present place of sojourn is here in Silesia so long as autumn 
lasts — with Prince Lichnowsky — who sends greetings to you — My 
address is L. v. Beethoven in Troppau. 

Breitkopf and Hartel's endorsement is as follows: ''Resp. 
(i. e., responsum). Let him propose the honorarium; if acceptable 
we will send him a contract for three years." In reply to this 
Beethoven wrote a letter dated Vienna, Nov. 18, 1806, in which he 

Partly my distractions in Silesia, partly the events which have 
taken place in your country, were to blame that I did not answer your 
letter before now — should the present condition of affairs prevent your 
entering into an engagement with me, you are not bound to anything — 
only I beg you to answer at once by post, so that in case you do not care 
to make a contract with me — I need not let my works lie idle.^ With re- 
gard to a contract for three years I am disposed to enter into it with you 
at once if you will agree that I sell several works to England or Scotland. 
It is understood of course that the works which you have received from me 
or which I sold you belong only to yon, namely are your sole property and have 
nothing to do with those of France, England or Scotland — but I must have the 
privilege to dispose of other works in those countries — But in Germany,^ you 
and no other publisher would be the oivner of my works. I would willingly 
renounce the sale of my works in those countries, but I have received 

68 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

from Scotland such weighty offers and such an honorarium as I could not 
ask of you, besides a connection with foreign countries is always im- 
portant for the fame of an artist and in the event of his travelling — As, 
for instance, in the case of Scotland, I have the right to sell the same 
works in Germany and France, I would gladly let you have them for 
Germany and France — so that only London and Edinburgh (in Scot- 
land) would be lost to your sales. . . . For the present I offer you three 
quartets and a pianoforte concerto — I cannot give you the promised 
symphony yet — because a gentleman of quality has taken it from me, 
but I have the privilege of publishing it in half a year. I ask of you 600 
florins for the three quartets and 300 fl. for the concerto, both amounts 
in Convention Florins according to the 20 florin scale. 

The negotiations were without result and the compositions 
mentioned were published by the Industrie-Comptoir. The sym- 
phony referred to was doubtless the fourth, in B-flat, and the 
"gentleman of quality" in all likelihood Count von Oppersdorff, 
to whom it was dedicated. 

In October Breuning wrote to Wegeler: "Beethoven is at 
present in Silesia with Prince Lichnowsky and will not return till 
near the end of this month. His circumstances are none of the 
best at present, since his opera, owing to the cabals of his opponents, 
was performed but seldom, and therefore yielded him nothing. 
His spirits are generally low and, to judge by his letters, the so- 
journ in the country has not cheered him." This visit to the 
Prince came to an abrupt termination in a scene which has been 
a fruitful theme for the silly race of musical novelette writers. 
The simple truth is related by Se\'fried in the appendix to his 
"Studien" (page 23) and is here copied literally except for a few 
additional words interspersed, derived by the present writer from 
a conversation with the daughter of Moritz Lichnowsky: 

When he (Beethoven) did not feel in the mood it recjuired repeated 
and varied urgings to get him to sit down to the pianoforte. Before he 
began playing he was in the habit of hitting the keys with the flat of his 
hand, or running a single finger up and down the keyl)oard, in short, doing 
all manner of things to kill time and laughing heartily, as was his wont, 
at the folly. Once while spending a summer with a Mjecenas at his country- 
seat, he was so pestered by the guests (French oflicers), who wished to 
hear him play, that he grew angry and refused to do what he denounced 
as menial labor. A threat of arrest, made surely in jest, was taken 
seriously by him and resulted in Beethoven's walking by night to the 
nearest city, Troppau, whence he hurried as on the wings of the wind by 
extra post to Vienna.' 

'FrimnicI, in his "Beethoven" (second edition. IHO.S. p. 4i), tells the story in 
essrntially the same manner on the authority of a gran<ison of Dr. Wciser, house phy- 
sician cif Prinre Liclinnwsky; Dr. W^-iser's version had [jrcviousiy been printed by 
Franz Xaver Ua<h in \\\>' "Witn<T Di-iitsche ZiitunR" of Aucust 31, 1873. In both 
cases the story ends with Beethoven's sending a letter to Lichnowsky containing thia 

Thomson and Scottish Songs 69 

In the "Grenzboten," Vol. XVI, No. 14, April 3, 1857, Fraulein Gian- 
natasio del Rio relates that, in 1816, Beethoven told how once during 
the invasion when the Prince had a number of Frenchmen as his guests, he 
(the Prince) repeatedly tried to coerce him to play for them on the piano- 
forte and that he had stoutly refused; which led to a scene between him 
and the Prince, whereupon B. indiscreetly and suddenly left the house. — 
He once said that it is easy to get along with nobility, but it was 
necessary to have something to impress them with. 

To propitiate him for the humiliation which he had suffered, 
the bust of his patron had to become a sacrifice; he dashed it into 
pieces from its place on a cabinet to the floor. Alois Fuchs re- 
corded an anecdote which illustrates the feeling which made 
Beethoven so unwilling to play before the French officers. After 
the battle at Jena (October 14, 1806) Beethoven met his friend 
Krumpholz, to whom he was warmly attached, and, as usual, 
asked him, "What's the news?" Krumpholz answered that the 
latest news was the report just received that the great hero 
Napoleon had won another decisive victory over the Prussians. 
Greatly angered, Beethoven replied to this: "It's a pity that I do 
not understand the art of war as well as I do the art of music, 
I would conquer him!" 

A very natural query arises here: how did Beethoven meet the 
expenses of these costly journeys.^ In answer it may be said that 
there is good reason to believe that he borrowed and used his 
brother Johann's scanty savings. 

A letter by Beethoven, dated November 1, introduces a new 
topic. At the time of the Union of the Kingdoms of England and 
Scotland, 1707, a "Board of Trustees for the Encouragement of 
Arts and Manufactures in Scotland" was established. About 1785 
George Thomson became its Secretary. He had some knowledge 
of musical science, and was an enthusiastic lover of Scottish airs 
and melodies. His official position brought him into correspon- 
dence with educated and influential people in all parts of the king- 
dom, and afforded him singular facilities for the execution of an 
early formed project — that of making the most extensive collec- 
tion possible of the music of Scotland. Many compilations, 
various in extent and merit, had been published, but all of them, 
as Thomson justly remarks, "more or less defective and ex- 
ceptionable." In one of his prefaces he says: 

To furnish a collection of all the fine airs, both of the plaintive 
and the lively kind, unmixed with trifling and inferior ones — to obtain 

passage: "Prince, what you are you are by accident and birth; what I am I am through 
myself. There have been and will still be thousands of princes; there is only one 
Beethoven." Authentic or not, the e.xpressioQ might well have come from the lips 
of Beethoven in a fit of anger. 

70 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

the most suitable and finished accompaniments, with the addition of 
characteristic symphonies to introduce and conclude each air — and to 
substitute congenial and interesting songs, every way worthy of the music, 
in the room of insipid or exceptionable verses, were the great objects of 
the present publication. . . . 

For the composition of the symphonies and accompaniments, he 
entered into terms with Mr. Pleyel, who fulfilled part of his engagement 
satisfactorily; but having then stopped short, the editor found it 
necessary to turn his eyes elsewhere. He was so fortunate, however, 
as to engage Mr. Kozeluch, and afterwards, Dr. Haydn, to proceed with 
the work, which they have finished in such a manner as to leave him 
nothing to regret on Mr. Pleyel's breach of engagement, etc., etc. 

Doubtless Thomson would have applied sooner to Haydn, 
had he known that the great master would condescend to such 
a labor. The appearance of William Napier's two volumes of 
"Original Scots Songs, in three parts, the Harmony by Haydn,'* 
removed any doubt on this point. For Napier, Haydn simply 
added a violin part and a figured bass; for Thomson, a full piano- 
forte score, parts for violin and violoncello, and an instrumental 
introduction and coda. A very remarkable feature of the enter- 
prise was, that the composers of the accompaniments had no 
knowledge of the texts, and the WTiters of the poetry no knowledge 
of the accompaniments. The poets, in many cases, had a stanza 
of the original song as a model for the metre and rhythm; in all 
others, they and the composers alike received the bare melody, 
with nothing else to guide them in their work but Italian musical 
terms: allegro, moderato, andante, etc., etc., affettuoso, espres- 
sivo, scherzando, and the like. This is also true of the Welsh and 
Irish melodies. Beethoven began his labors for Thomson with 
the last named. In the preface to the first volume, dated "Edin- 
burgh, anno 1814,'* after describing his work in collecting Irish 
airs, Thomson says: 

They were sent to Haydn to be harmonized along with the Scottish 
and Welsh airs; but after that celebrated composer had finished the 
greater part of those two works, his declining health only enabled him 
to harmonize a few of the Irish Melodies; and upon his death, it became 
necessary to find another composer to whom the task of harmonizing 
them should be committed.' Of all composers that are now living, it is 
acknowledged by every intelligent and unprejudiced musician, that the 
only one, who occupies the same distinguished rank with the late Haydn 
is Bertiioven. Possessing the most original genius and inventive fancy, 
united to profound science, refined taste and an enthusiastic love of his 
art — his comf)ositions, like those of his illustrious predecessor, will bear 
endless repetition and afford ever new delight. To this composer, there- 

'Thomson's mrmory was a little at fault when this preface was written; the pro- 
posal was made to Heethoven before Haydn's death. 

Beethoven's Suggested Arrangements 71 

fore, the Editor eagerly applied for symphonies and accompaniments to 
the Irish Melodies; and to his inexpressible satisfaction, Beethoven under- 
took the composition. After years of anxious suspense and teazing 
disappointment, by the miscarriage of letters and manuscripts, owing to 
the unprecedented difficulty of communication between England and 
Vienna, the long expected symphonies and accompaniments at last 
reached the Editor, three other copies having previously been lost upon 
the road. 

Near the close of his preface, Thomson says: "After the volume 
was printed and some copies of it had been circulated, an oppor- 
tunity occurred of sending it to Beethoven, who corrected the few 
inaccuracies that had escaped the notice of the Editor and his 
friends; and he trusts it will be found without a single error." 

Following is a translation of the letter to Thomson referred to: 

Vienna, November 1, 1806. 
Dear Sir: 

A little excursion to Silesia which I have made is the reason why I 
have postponed till now answering your letter of July 1. On my return to 
Vienna I hasten to communicate to you what I have to say and what 
I have decided as to the proposals you were so kind as to make me. I 
will speak with all candor and exactitude, which I like in business affairs, 
and which alone can forestall any complaint on either side. Here, then, 
my dear Sir, are my statements : 

1™*'. I am not indisposed, on the whole, to accept your proposi- 

2^^°. I will take care to make the compositions easy and pleasing, 
as far as I can and as far as is consistent with that elevation and origin- 
ality of style which, as you yourself say, favorably characterize my works 
and from wdiich I shall never derogate. 

3"^'°. I cannot bring myself to write for the flute, as this instrument 
is too limited and imperfect. 

4*^°. In order to give the compositions which you will publish 
greater variety and to leave myself a freer field in them, though the task 
of making them easy would always be an embarrassment to me, I shall 
promise you only three trios for violin, viola and violoncello, and three 
quintets for two violins, two violas and one violoncello. Instead of the 
remaining three trios, I will send you three quartets and, finally, two 
sonatas for pianoforte with an accompanying instrument, and a quintet 
for two violins and flute. In a word, I would ask you with regard to the 
second series of the compositions you ask for, to rely upon my taste and 
good faith and I assure you that you shall be entirely satisfied. 

If you cannot agree to any of these changes, I shall not insist upon 
them obstinately. 

5^°. I should be glad if the second series of compositions were 
published six months after the first. 

VI". I desire a clearer explanation of the expression which I find 
in your letter that no copy printed under my name shall be introduced into 
Great Britain; for if you agree that these compositions are to be published 

72 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

also in Germany and even in France, I do not understand how I shall be 
able to prevent copies from being taken to your country. 

rjmo^ Finally as to the honorarium, I shall expect j'ou to send me 
100 pounds sterling, or 200 Vienna ducats in gold, and not in Vienna 
bank-notes, which under the present circumstances are at too great a dis- 
count; for if paid in these notes the sum would be as little in proportion 
to the works which I should deliver to you as to the fees which I receive 
for all my other compositions. Even a fee of 200 ducats in gold is by 
no means excessive payment for ail that is demanded to meet your wishes. 

The best way of making the payment will be for you, on the dates 
\^hen I forward you the first and second series of compositions, to send 
me each time by post a bill of exchange for 100 ducats in gold drawn upon 
a house in Hamburg; or for you to commission somebody in Vienna to 
hand me such a bill of exchange each time, as he receives from me the 
first and second series. 

At the same time please let me know the date on which each series 
will be published by you in order that I may engage the publishers who 
issue these compositions in Germany and France, to abide by the same. 

I hope that you will find my explanations reasonable and of such a 
sort that we can reach some definite agreement. In this case it will be 
best to draw up a formal contract which please have the kindness to pre- 
pare in duplicate; and I will return you one copy signed by me. 

I await your answer, that I may begin on the work; and I remain 
with distinguished consideration, my dear Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

Louis van Beethoven. 

I shall be glad to meet your wish that I provide little Scottish songs 
with harmonized accompaniments; and in this matter I await a more 
definite proposal; since it is well known to me that Herr Haydn was paid 
one pound sterling for each song. 

The original of this letter — in possession of the heirs of Mr. 
Thomson — is in French, the signature only being in Beethoven's 
hand. Of its various propositions, that in the postscript alone 
led to any results. 

And now to the compositions of the year. A song translated 
by Breuning from a French opera, *'Le Secret," was probably the 
first fruits of the newly awakened "desire and love for work," 
which proved so nobly productive during his summer absence 
from Vienna; it is the one published at different times under the 
titles "Em[)findungen bei Lydiens Untreue," and "AIs die 
Geliebte sich trennen wollte." A slight token of gratitude for the 
recent zealous kindness of Breuning in the matter of the opera, such 
as this song, wouhl not long be delayed even })y Beethoven. But, 
whether or not this was the first composition after the with- 
drawal of "Fidelio," it is certain that, just one week })efore the 
date of Brcuning's letter, Beethoven had set himself resolutely 
to work upon grander themes than Empfindungen bei Lydiens or 

Compositions of 1806 73 

any other Madchens Untreue. These are now to be considered. 
He began the quartets, Op. 59, on May 26. Certain studies to 
"Fidelio," not previously mentioned, are contained in a sketch- 
book of the Landsberger Collection of Autographs, the principal 
contents of which are sketches for the second, fourth, fifth, 
sixth and ninth Symphonies, and for "Fidelio." This, at first view, 
seems to confirm an assertion of Czerny's — not accepted by Schind- 
ler, who in this case is the better authority — namely, that the 
Ninth Symphony, except its choral Finale, was projected many 
years before its composition; but the book itself affords a strong 
argument against it; it being, as the present writer is convinced, 
not a manuscript in its original form, but one made up of parts of 
several different books, stitched together subsequently for the 
better preservation of these various symphonic studies. In it, 
however, the sketches for the Fourth Symphony are in immediate 
connection with those for "Fidelio." The list, then, of impor- 
tant works sketched during the progress of the opera, is this: 
Triple Concerto, Op. 56; Sonata in F minor. Op. 57; Pf. Concerto 
in G, Op. 58: Rasoumowsky Quartets, Op. 59; Fourth Symphony, 
B-flat, Op. 60; Fifth Symphony, C minor, Op. 67; Sixth Symphony, 
"Pastorale," Op. 68. Omitting the first as belonging to 1805, 
and the last two as belonging to 1807-1808, the other four, we 
conceive, may be dated 1806. They afford a striking example of 
Beethoven's habit of working on several compositions at the same 
time, and, moreover, as we believe, of his practice in such cases 
of giving the works opus numbers in the order of their completion. 
In this order we will take them up. "The first work which fol- 
lowed the exertions caused by the opera," writes Schindler, "was 
the Sonata in F minor. Op. 57. . . . The master composed it 
straightway from beginning to end, during a short period of rest 
at the house of his friend Count Brunswick, to whom, as is known, 
the sonata is dedicated." 

Beethoven, journeying into Silesia after his visit to Bruns- 
wick, took the manuscript and had it also with him on his return 
to Vienna per extra post from Troppau after the explosion at 
Lichnowsky's. "During his journey," wrote M. Bigot half a 
century afterwards on a printed copy belonging to the pianist 
Mortier de Fontaine, 

he encountered a storm and pouring rain which penetrated the trunk 
into which he had put the Sonata in F minor which he had just composed. 
After reaching Vienna he came to see us and laughingly showed the 
work, which was still wet, to my wife, who at once began to look 
carefully at it. Impelled by the striking beginning she sat down at the 

74 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

pianoforte and began playing it. Beethoven had not expected this and 
was surprised to note that Madame Bigot did not hesitate at all because 
of the many erasures and alterations which he had made. It was the 
original manuscript which he was carrying to his publisher for printing. 
When Mme. Bigot had finished playing she begged him to give it to her; 
he consented, and faithfully brought it to her after it had been printed. 

Czerny says, very justly, of the unauthorized change after- 
wards made in the title: "In a new edition of the Sonata in F 
minor, Op. 57, which Beethoven himself considered his greatest, 
the title *Appassionata,' for which it is too great, was added to 
it. This title would be more fitly applied to the E-flat Sonata, 
Op. 7, which he composed in a very impassioned mood." 

The Pf. Concerto in G, Op. 58, is dated by Schindler 1804, 
"according to information given by F. Ries"; the new edition of 
Breitkopf and Hartel's thematic catalogue says (p. 197): "The 
Concerto w^as finished in the year 1805," without mentioning its 
authority. If it had nothing better than Ries's anecdote to offer 
in proof, the opinion may still be entertained confidently, that 
this work remained still unfinished until the approach of the 
concert season, towards the end of the year 1806. ^ 

The Quartets, Op. 59, certainly belong to this year. "Quartetto 
1™°. . . . Begun on May 26, 1806," are Beethoven's own words; 
and the opus number, the reports of their production during the 
next winter, and, especially, the date of their publication, mak- 
ing allowance for Rasoumowsky's right to them for a year, all 
point to November or December as the latest possible date for 
their completion. The idea of employing popular airs as themes 
was by no means new to Beethoven. Without referring to the 
example set by Haydn, Pleyel, Kozeluch, it had been proposed to 
him by Thomson; and as to Russian melodies, he must have read 
the "Allg. Musik-Zeitung" very carelessly not to have had his 
curiosity aroused ))y the articles on Russian music published in 
that journal in ISO'S — a curiosity which, in the constant inter- 
course between Vienna, Moscow and St. Petersburg, there would 
be no difficulty in gratifying. Czerny writes, however, "He had 
pledged himself to weave a Russian melody into every quartet." 
But Lenz, himself a Russian and a musician, says: "The Russian 
themes are confined to the Finale of No. 1 and the third move- 
ment of the second Quartet." This is a case in which Czerny 's 
authority can scarcely be gainsaid; otherw'ise, it might be sup- 
posed that the composer of his own motion introduced these two 

'Rut on March il. ISOfi, Hcotlioven ofTerod tlic Concerto to Iloffraeister and 
KUhnel topethtr with "(hristii.s am Olberg" for (JOO florins. The work, if not com- 
pleted, must have been well under way early in the year. 

The Rasoumowsky Quartets 75 

themes in compliment to Rasoumowsky. "The Adagio, E major, 
in the second Rasoumowsky Quartet, occurred to him when con- 
templating the starry sky and thinking of the music of the 
spheres," writes Czerny in Jahn's notes. 

Perhaps no work of Beethoven's met a more discouraging 
reception from musicians, than these now famous Quartets. One 
friendly contemporary voice alone is heard — that of the "Allg. 
Mus. Zeit." Czerny told Jahn, that "when Schuppanzigh first 
played the Rasoumowsky Quartet in F, they laughed and were 
convinced that Beethoven was playing a joke and that it was 
not the quartet which had been promised." And when Gyrowetz 
bought these Quartets he said: "Pity to waste the money!" 
The Allegretto vivace of the first of these quartets was long a 
rock of offence. "When at the beginning of the year 1812," says 
Lenz, "the movement was to be played for the first time in the 
musical circle of Field jMarshal Count SoltikofI in Moscow, 
Bernhard Romberg trampled under foot as a contemptible mysti- 
fication the bass part which he was to play. The Quartet was laid 
aside. When, a few years later, it was played at the house of 
Privy Councillor Lwoff, father of the famous violinist, in St. Peters- 
burg, the company broke out in laughter when the bass played 
his solo on one note. — The Quartet was again laid aside." 

Thomas Appleby, father of Samuel Appleby, collector of 
valuable papers referring to the violinist Bridgetower, was a 
leader in the musical world of Manchester, England, and a prin- 
cipal director of concerts there. When these quartets came out in 
London, Clementi sent a copy of them to him. They were opened 
and throwTi upon the pianoforte. Next day Felix Radicati and 
his wife, Mme. Bertinotti, called and presented letters, they being 
upon a concert tour. During the conversation the Italian went 
to the pianoforte, took up the quartets and seeing what they were, 
exclaimed (in substance) : "Have you got these here! Ha! Beet- 
hoven, as the world says, and as I believe, is music-mad; — for 
these are not music. He submitted them to me in manuscript 
and, at his request, I fingered them for him. I said to him, that 
he surely did not consider these works to be music.^ — to which 
he replied, 'Oh, they are not for you, but for a later age! 

Young Appleby believed in them, in spite of Radicati, and 
after he had studied his part thoroughly, his father invited players 
of the other instruments to his house and the first in F was tried. 
The first movement was declared by all except Appleby to be 
"crazy music." At the end of the violoncello solo on one note, 
they all burst out laughing; the next four bars all agreed were 

76 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

beautiful. Ludlow, an organist, who played the bass, found so 
much to admire and so much to condemn in the half of this 
second movement, which they succeeded in playing, as to call it 
"patchwork by a madman." They gave up the attempt to play 
it, and not until 1813, in London, did the young man succeed in 
hearing the three Quartets entire, and finding them, as he had 
believed, worthy of their author. 

The Symphony in B-flat, Op. 60, was the great work of this 
summer season. Sketches prove that its successor, the fifth in 
C minor, had been commenced, and was laid aside to give place 
to this. Nothing more is known of the history of its composition 
except what is imparted by the author's inscription on the manu- 
script: "Sinfonia 4^ 1806.*^ L. v. Bthvn." 

In singular contrast to these grand works and contemporary 
with their completion, as if written for amusement and recreation 
after the fatigue of severer studies, are the thirty-two Variations 
for Pianoforte in C minor. They belong to this Autumn, and are 
among the compositions which their author would gladly have 
seen pass into oblivion. Jahn's notes contain an anecdote in 
point. "Beethoven once found Streicher's daughter practising 
these Variations. After he had listened for a while he asked her: 
"By whom is that.^" "By you." "Such nonsense by me.^ O 
Beethoven, what an ass you were!" 

Although the composer did hot succeed in bringing his new 
Symphony and Concerto to public performance this year, an 
opportunity offered itself for him to give the general public as 
fine a taste of his quality as composer for the violin, as he had 
just given to the frequenters of Rasoumowsky's quartet parties 
in the Op. 59, namely. Op. 61, the work superscribed by its author: 
Concerto par Clemenza pour Clement, primo Violino e Direttore 
al Theatro a Vienne, dal L. v. Bthvn., 1806; — or, as it stands on 
Franz Clement's concert programme of December 23 in the Theater- 
an-der-Wien: "2. A new Violin Concerto by Hrn. Ludwig van 
Beethoven, played by Hrn. Clement." It was preceded by an 
overture by Mehul, and followed by selections from Mozart, 
Cherubini and Handel, closing with a fantasia by the concert- 
giver. When Dr. Bertolini told Jahn that "Beethoven as a rule 
never finished commissioned works until the last minute," he 
named this (Joncerto as an instance in point; and another contem- 
porary notes that Clement played the solo a vista, without pre- 
vious rehearsal. The list of publications this year is short: 

LI'"" Sonata pour le Pianoforte, F major, advertised April 9 
in the "Wiener Zeitung" by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir. 

The Year's Publications 77 

There is no tradition that Beethoven ever explained why he called 
this his fifty -first, or the F minor his fifty-fourth Sonata. The best 
that Czerny could suggest is that "perhaps he sketched that 
number in manuscript and then destroyed them or used them in 
another form." Others have made lists of all the works in sonata- 
form, including the symphonies; but none has been so probably 
right as to produce conviction. 

Grand Trio pour deux Hauthois et un Cor Anglais, C major, 
advertised by Artaria and Co., April 12, without opus number. 
At a later date it was called Op. 87. The same work for two 
violins and viola, and as a sonata for pianoforte and violin, was 
advertised at the same time. "Andante" (Favori) in F major, for 
Pianoforte. This was originally the second movement of the 
Sonata, Op. 53 — according to the anecdote before given from 
Ries's "Notizen." 

"Sinfonia eroica," Op. 55, dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz, 
advertised by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir on October 29. 

Besides these works, Johann Traeg advertised on June 18 
"6 Grands Trios pour le Pianoforte, violon oblige et violoncello ad 
lib.," Op. 60, Nos. 1 and 2. These are arrangements of the Quar- 
tets, Op. 18. Also "3 Grands Trios pour le Pianoforte, Violon et 
Violoncello," Op. 61, No. 1; arrangements of the Trios, Op. 9. Be- 
fore February, 1807, the other numbers of the two works had been 
completed and had left the press. The opus numbers were not 
recognized by Beethoven, for, as is seen above, 60 and 61 belong 
to original works of a very different order. 

Chapter V 

Beethoven's Friends and Patrons in the First Lustrum of 
the Nineteenth Century — An Imperial Pupil, Archduke 
Rudolph — Count Rasoumowsky — Countess Erdody — 
Baroness Ertmann — Marie Bigot — Therese Malfatti — 
Nanette Streicher — Zizius — ^Anecdotes. 

HE who dwells with wife and children in a fixed abode, usually 
finds himself, as age draws on, one of a small circle of old 
friends; and hoary heads, surrounded by their descendants, 
the inheritors of parental friendships, sit at the same tables and 
make merry where they had gathered in the prime of life. The 
unmarried man, who can call no spot on earth's surface his own, 
who spends his life in hired lodgings, here to-day and there to- 
morrow, has, as a rule, few friendships of long standing. By 
divergency in tastes, opinions, habits, increasing with the years, 
often by the mere interruption of social intercourse, or by a 
thousand equally insignificant causes, the old ties are sundered. 
In the memoranda and correspondence of such a man familiar 
names disappear, even when not removed by death, and strange 
ones take their places. The mere passing acquaintance of one 
period becomes the chosen friend of another; while the former 
friend sinks into the mere acquaintance, or is forgotten. Fre- 
quently no cause for the change can be assigned. One can only 
say — it happened so. 

Thus it was with Beethoven, even to a remarkable degree; 
in part because of his increasing infirmity, in part owing to 
peculiarities of his character. It was his misfortune, also, that — 
having no pecuniary resource but the exercise of his talents for 
musical composition, and being at the same time too proud and too 
loyal to his ideas of art to write for popular applause — he was 
all his life long thrown more or less upon the generosity of patrons. 
But death, misfortune or other causes deprived him of old patrons, 
as of old friends, and compelled him to seek, or at least accept, the 
kindness of new ones. A part of this chapter must be devoted to 


A Talented Archduke 79 

certain new names in both categories, which become prominentia 
his history in the years immediately before us. 

Archduke Rudolph Johann Joseph Rainer, youngest son of 
Emperor Leopold II, and half-brother of Emperor Franz, was 
born January 8, 1788, and therefore was, at the end of 1805, just 
closing his seventeenth year. Like his unfortunate uncle. Elector 
Maximilian, he was destined to the church, and like him, too, he 
had much musical taste and capacity. His private tutors were 
all men of fine culture, and one of them, Joseph Edler von Baumeis- 
ter, Doctor of I^aws, remained in later years in his service and will 
be met with hereafter. In music he, with the children of the im- 
perial family, was instructed by the R. I. Court Composer, Anton 
Tayber, and made such good progress that, if tradition may be 
trusted, he, while still but a boy, played to general satisfaction in 
the salons of Lobkowitz and others. But an archduke has not 
much to fear from hostile criticism; a better proof that he really 
possessed musical talent and taste is afforded by the fact that, 
so soon as he could emancipate himself from Tayber, and have a 
voice in the selection of a teacher, he became a pupil of Beethoven. 
It is largely possible that the old relation of the composer to Max- 
imilian may have had some influence upon the determination of 
his nephew; and it is very probable that Rudolph's decision was 
based upon the great reputation of Beethoven and the respect in 
which, as he saw, the artist was held by the Schwarzenbergs, 
Liechtensteins, Kinskys, and their compeers. But whatever 
weight be allowed to these and like considerations, it must have 
been something more than a capricious desire to call the great 
pianist "master," which made him his pupil, friend and patron 
until death parted them. One necessarily thinks better of his 
musical talents for this, just as Maximilian's musical taste and 
insight stand higher in our estimation because of his early ap- 
preciation of Mozart's genius. 

The precise date of Beethoven's engagement has eluded the 
research of even the accurate and indefatigable Kochel. There 
is so little doubt, however, that he was the immediate successor of 
Tayber, as to render reasonably certain that it occurred at the end 
of the young Archduke's fifteenth year — that is, in the winter of 
1803-4. It is perhaps worth remarking, that the "Staats-Sche- 
matismus" for 1803 first gives, in the R. I. Household, a separate 
chamber to the boys, Rainer and Rudolph; three years later 
"Archduke Rudolph, coadjutor of the Archbishopric of Olmiitz," 
is given one alone; but before 1808 he certainly was the pupil of 

80 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In Fraulein Giannatasio's notices from the years 1816-18/ 

she relates: 

At that time Beethoven gave lessons to Archduke Rudolph, a 
brother of Emperor Franz, I once asked him if the Archduke played 
well. "When he is feeling just right," was the answer, accompanied by 
a smile. He also laughingly referred to the fact that he would sometimes 
hit him on the fingers, and that when the august gentleman once tried to 
refer him to his place, he pointed for justification to a passage from a 
poet, Goethe, I think. 

It must have been a mistake of the young lady's to make Beet- 
hoven speak here in the present tense; for it is incredible that he 
should have taken such a liberty in 1816-17, when Rudolph was 
a man of some thirty years; or indeed at any time after the first 
lessons in his boyhood. The anecdote therefore in some degree 
supports the conjecture above offered. So also does Schindler's 
statement — a point on which he was likely to be well informed by 
the master himself — that the pianoforte part of the Triple Con- 
certo, Op. 56, was written for the Archduke; for this work was 
sketched, at the latest, in the spring of 1805, and surely would not 
have been undertaken until the composer thoroughly knew his 
pupil's powers, and that his performance would do the master no 
discredit. And finally, what Ries relates is in the tone of one 
who had personal knowledge of the circumstances detailed; and 
thus determines the date as not later than 1804: 

Etiquette and all that is connected with it was never known to 
Beethoven [?] nor was he ever willing to learn it. For this reason 
he often caused great embarrassment in the household of Archduke 
Rudolph when he first went to him. An attempt was made by force to 
teach him to have regard for certain things. But this was intolerable to 
him; he would promise, indeed, to mend his ways but — that was the end 
of it. Finally one day when, as he expressed it, he was being tutored [als 
man ihn, wie er es nannte, hofmeisterte] he angrily forced his way to the 
Archduke and flatly declared that while he had the greatest reverence for 
his person, he could not trouble himself to observe all the regulations 
which were daily forced upon him. The Archduke laughed good- 
naturedly and commanded that Beethoven be permitted to go his own 
gait undisturbed — it was his nature and could not be altered. 

At all events it may be accepted as certain that Beethoven 
had now, 1805-6, formed those relations with the Archduke, which 
were strengthened and more advantageous to him with each 
successive year, until death put an end to them. 

Two brothers, differing in age by nineteen years, owed their 
rise from the condition of singers at the Russian Court into posi- 

'See the "Grenzboten," April 3. 1857. 

Count Andreas Rasoumowsky 81 

tions of great wealth and political importance to their gratification 
of the lascivious lusts of two imperial princesses, afterwards 
known in history as the Empresses Elizabeth Petrowna and 
Catherine II. Thus the two Rasums, born in 1709 and 1728, 
of half-Cossack parentage, in the obscure Ukraine village of 
Lemeschi, became the Counts Rasoumowsky, nobles of the Russian 
Empire. They were men of rare ability, and, like Shakespeare's 
Duncan, "bore their faculties so meek," that none of the mon- 
archs under whom they served, not even those who personally 
disliked either of them, made him the victim of imperial caprice 
or ill will. A whimsical proof of the rapidity with which the new 
name became known throughout Europe is its introduction in 
1762 into a farce of the English wit, Samuel Foote.^ The 
Empresses provided their paramours with wives from noble 
families and continued their kindness to the children born of 
these unions — one of whom came in time to occupy a rather 
prominent place among the patrons of Beethoven. 

Andreas Kyrillovitch (born October 22, 1752), fourth son of 
the younger Rasoumowsky, was destined for the navy and re- 
ceived the best education possible in those days for his profession, 
even to serving in what was then the best of all schools, an English 
man-of-war. He had been elevated to the rank of captain when, 
at the age of 25, he was transferred to the diplomatic service. He 
was Ambassador successively at Venice, Naples, Copenhagen and 
Stockholm; less famous, perhaps, for his diplomacy than notorious 
for the profuseness of his expenditures, and for his amours with 
women of the highest rank, the Queen of Naples not excepted. 

Rasoumowsky was personally widely known at Vienna, where 
he had married (November 4, 1788) Elizabeth, Countess Thun, 
elder sister of the Princess Charles Lichnowsky, and whither he 
was transferred as Ambassador early in 1792, being officially 
presented to the Emperor on Friday, May 25, as the "Wiener 
Zeitung" records. Near the end of Czar Paul's reign (in March, 
1799) he was superseded by Count Kalichev; but on the accession 
of Alexander was restored, his "presentation audience" taking 
place October 14, 1801. His dwelling and office had formerly 
been in the Johannes-Gasse, but now (1805-6) he was in the 
Wallzeil, but on the point of removing to a new palace built by 
himself. Schnitzer says: "Rasoumowsky lived in Vienna like a 
prince, encouraging art and science, surrounded by a luxurious 

^Young Wilding: "Oh how they [the women] melt at the Gothic names of Gen- 
eral Swapinhach, Count Rousoumotfsky, Prince Montecuculi and Marshal Fustin- 
burgh." ("The Liar.") 

82 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

library and other collections and admired and envied by all ; what 
advantages accrued from all this to Russian affairs is another 
question." This palace, afterwards nearly destroyed by fire and 
rebuilt, is now, after various vicissitudes, the seat of the Imperial 
Geological Institute, Landstrasse, Rasoumowsky-Gasse No. 3. 

True to the traditions of his family, the Count was a musician 
and one of the best connoisseurs and players of Haydn's quartets, 
in which he was accustomed to play the second violin. It is 
affirmed, evidently on good authority, that he had studied these 
works under that master himself. It would seem a matter of 
course, that this man, so nearly connected, too, with Lichnowsky, 
was one of the first to appreciate and encourage the genius of the 
young Beethoven upon his removal from Rome to Vienna. In 
fact, this has been affirmed most positively and discoursed upon 
at great length; and yet the few known data on this point — all 
of a negative character — are in conflict with that opinion. Neither 
Wegeler nor Ries mentions Rasoumowsky. Whatever Seyfried 
and Schindler may conjecture, all the facts given by them belong 
to the period on which we are now entering. Up to Op. 58, in- 
clusive, not a composition of Beethoven's is dedicated to Rasou- 
mowsky. Just now (end of 1805), the Count has given the composer 
an order for quartets with Russian themes, original or imitated; 
but only once, in all the contemporary printed or manuscript 
authorities yet discovered, have the two names been brought 
into connection; namely, in the subscription to the Trios in 1795, 
where we find the Countess of Thun, her daughters and the Lich- 
nowskys down (in the aggregate) for 32 copies, and "S. E. le 
Comte Rasoumoffsky, Embassadeur de Russie" — for one. 

The Hungarian Count Peter Erdody married, June 6, 1796, 
the Countess Anna Marie Niczky (born 1779), then just seventeen 
years of age. Reichardt describes her, in December, 1808, as a 
"very beautiful, fine little woman who from her first confinement 
(1799) was afflicted with an incurable disease which for ten years 
has kept her in bed for all but two to three months" — in which he 
greatly exaggerates the evil of her condition — "but nevertheless 
gave birth to three healthy and dear children who cling to her like 
burs; whose sole entertainment was found in music; who plays even 
Beethoven's pieces right well and limi)s with still swollen feet 
from one pianoforte to another, yet is so merry and friendly and 
good — nil this often saddens me during an otherwise joyous meal 
participated in by six or eight good musical souls." There is 
nothing to show how or when the very great intimacy between the 
Countess and Beethoven began; but for many years she is prom- 

Countess Erdody and Baroness Ertmann 83 

inent among the most useful and valued of his many female friends, 
and it is not at all improbable that the vicinity of the Erdody 
estate at Jedlersee am Marchfelde was one reason for his frequent 
choice of summer lodgings in the villages on the Danube, north of 
the city. Their intercourse was at length (about 1820) abruptly 
terminated by the banishment for life of the Countess beyond the 
limits of the Austrian Empire — unhappily, for reasons that can- 
not be impugned. It is a sad and revolting story, over which a 
veil may be drawn. There is no necessity, arising from Beethoven's 
relations to her, to give it now the publicity which was then 
so carefully and effectually avoided. It is even possible that 
Beethoven's heart was never wrung by a knowledge of the 

The Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann, wife of an Austrian 
officer who was stationed in those years at or near Vienna, studied 
Beethoven's compositions with the composer, and became, as all 
contemporary authorities agree, if not the greatest player of these 
works at least the greatest of her sex. Reichardt, a most com- 
petent judge, heard her repeatedly in the winter of 1808-09 and 
recorded a highly favorable impression of her. 

Well might the master call her his "Dorothea-Cacilia!" In 
that delightful letter, in which the young Felix Mendelssohn 
describes his visit at Milan (1831) to the Ertmanns, "the most 
agreeable, cultured people conceivable, both in love as if they 
were a bridal couple, and yet married 34 years," where he and the 
lady delighted each other by turns in the performance of Beet- 
hoven's compositions and "the old General, who now appeared in 
his stately gray commander's uniform, wearing many orders, was 
very happy and wept with joy"; and in the intervals he told "the 
loveliest anecdotes about Beethoven, how, in the evening when 
she played for him, he used the candle snuffers as a toothpick, etc." 
In this letter there is one touching and beautiful reminiscence of 
the Baroness. "She related," says Mendelssohn, "that when she 
lost her last child, Beethoven at first did not want to come into 
the house; at length he invited her to visit him, and when she 
came he sat himself down at the pianoforte and said simply: *We 
will now talk to each other in tones,' and for over an hour played 
without stopping, and as she remarked: 'he told me everything, 
and at last brought me comfort.'" 

It was noted in a former chapter, that the leading female 
pianists also of Vienna were divided into fro and anti Beet- 
hovenists. The former party just at this time gained a valuable 
accession in a young lady who, during her five years' residence 

84 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

there, became one of the most devoted as well as most highly ac- 
complished players of Beethoven's compositions — Marie Bigot. 
From 1809 to her death in 18^20 she lived in Paris, where her 
superiority, first as dilettante, then as professional player and 
teacher, made her the subject of one of the most pleasing sketches 
in Fetis's "Biographic Universelle des Musiciens." From this we 
learn that she was born of a family named Kiene on March 3, 
1786, at Colmar in Alsatia and married M. Bigot, who took her to 
Vienna in 1804. In the Austrian capital she became acquainted 
with Haydn, and formed a friendship also with Beethoven and 
Salieri. Such associations naturally fired her ardently musical 
nature, and at 20 years of age she had already developed great 
skill and originality. The first time that she played in the pre- 
sence of Haydn, the old gentleman was so moved that he clasped 
her in his arms and cried: "O, my dear child, I did not write this 
music — it is you who have composed it!" And upon the printed 
sheet from which she had played he wrote: "On February 20, 
1805, Joseph Haydn was happy." The melancholy genius of 
Beethoven found an interpreter in Madame Bigot, whose en- 
thusiasm and depth of feeling added new beauties to those which 
he had conceived. One day she played a sonata which he had 
just composed, in such a manner as to draw from him the re- 
mark: "That is not exactly the character which I wanted to give 
this piece; but go right on. If it is not wholly mine it is something 
better." (Si ce 7i'est pas tout a fait moi, c'est mieux que moi.) 

Bigot, according to Reichardt, was "an honest, cultivated 
Berliner, liibrarian of Count Rasoumowsky." As this was pre- 
cisely in those years when Beethoven w^as most patronized by that 
nobleman, the composer and the lady were thus brought often 
together and very warm, friendly relations resulted. Jahn pos- 
sessed for many years the copy of a very characteristic letter of 
Beethoven to the Bigots, which leads one to suspect that his 
attentions to the young wife had at one time the appearance of 
being a little too pointed. The letter is undated; but as the pre- 
cise date happens to be of no importance, and was of course before 
1809, it may be inserted here in order to explode at the outset the 
nonsense which has l)een published concerning a fancied inordinate 
passion of the master for the young lady. Perhaps for this very 
reason Jahn finally sent it to the "Grenzboten" (II, 1867): 

Dear Marie, dear Bigot! 

It is only with the deepest regret that I am compelled to recognize 
that the j)urest and most harmless feelings can often he misunderstood — 
as affectionately as you have met me I have never thought of interpret- 

Beethoven and Madame Bigot 85 

ing it otherwise than that you were giving me your friendship. You 
must deem me very vain and contemptible if you assume that the ad- 
vances of such excellent persons as yourselves could make me believe 
that I had at once won your love — moreover, it is one of my first prin- 
ciples never to stand in other than friendly relations with the wife of 
another man, I do not wish by such relations to fill my soul with dis- 
trust against her who may some day share my fate with me — and thus 
ruin for myself the loveliest and purest life. It is possible that I have 
jested with Bigot a few times in a way that was not too refined, I told 
you myself that I am occasionally ill behaved. I am natural in my in- 
tercourse with all my friends and hate all restraint. I count Bigot 
amongst them, if something that I do displeases him, friendship demands 
that he tell me so — and I will certainly have a care never to offend again — 
but how can good Marie put so bad a construction on my actions. . . . 

With regard to my invitation to go driving with you and Caroline 
it was but natural that I should believe, Bigot having opposed your 
going with me alone, that both of you deemed it unbecoming or ob- 
jectionable — and when I wrote I had no other purpose than to make you 
understand that I saw no harm in it, and when I declared that it was a 
matter of great importance to me that you should not refuse it was only 
to persuade you to enjoy the gloriously beautiful day, I had your and 
Caroline's pleasure in mind more than my own and I thought to compel 
you to accede to my wishes when I said that mistrust on your part or a 
refusal would really offend me — you ought really to ponder how you will 
make amends for having spoilt for me a day that was so bright because of 
my cheerful mood and the cheerful weather — if I said that you misunder- 
stood me, your present judgment of me shows that I may have been 
right, not to think about that which you thought about in connection 
with the matter — when I said that something evil might come of it if I 
came to you, that was more than anything else a joke which had only 
the one purpose of showing how everything about you attracts me, that 
I have no greater wish than always to live with you, is also the truth — 
even in case there was a hidden meaning in it even the most sacred 
friendship can yet have secrets, but to misinterpret the secret of a friend 
— because one cannot at once guess it, that you ought not to do — dear 
Bigot, dear Marie, never, never will you find me ignoble, from child- 
hood I learned to love virtue — and all that is beautifid and good — you 
have hurt me to the heart. It shall only serve to make our friendship 
the firmer. I am really not at all well to-day and I shall scarcely be able 
to see you, yesterday after the quartets my feelings and imagination 
continually called up before me the fact that I had made you suffer, I 
went to the Ridotto (ball) last night to seek distraction, but in vain, 
everywhere I was haunted by the vision of all of you, ceaselessly it said 
to me they are so good and probably are suffering because of you. De- 
jected in spirits I hurried away. ^ Write me a few lines. 

Your true 

Friend Beethoven 

embraces you all. 

^In June, 1906, Dr. Kalischer published two short notes written by Beethoven 
to Bigot. They are without date. The first explains Beethoven's departure from 
Bigot's house on the occasion of a visit as due to a sudden attack of fever; the second. 

86 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Gleichenstein introduced Beethoven to a family named 
Malfatti. The culture, refinement, musical taste and high 
character of the parents, and the uncommon grace and beauty of 
their two charming children, young girls now of twelve to four- 
teen years, rendered the house very attractive to the composer. 
There was less than a year's difference in the ages of the children; 
Therese was born January 1st and Anna December 7th of the 
same year; whether 1792 or 1793, our friendly authority was not 
certain. Anna became, in due time (1811), the wife of Gleichen- 
stein; and Therese was at one time the object of one of Beethoven's 
short-lived, unrequited passions. Her niece writes: "That 
Beethoven loved my aunt, and wished to marry her, and also that 
her parents would never have given their consent, is true."^ There 
is nothing to determine conclusively when the master's fondness 
assumed this in tenser form; but there are good reasons (which 
may perhaps appear hereafter) for believing, that it was at least 
five years later than our present date. His attentions to the 
young lady, at all events, attracted no notice outside the family 
circle, nor did her rejection of them prevent the continuance of 
warm, friendly relations between the parties, up to and after her 
marriage in 1817. Dr. Sonnleithner establishes both these facts: 

Frau Therese Baroness von Drosdick, nee Malfatti (died in Vienna, 
60 years old, on April 27, 1851), was the wife of Court Councillor Wilhelm 
Baron von Drosdick. She was a beautiful, lively and intellectual woman, 
a very good pianoforte player and, besides, the cousin of the famous 
physician and friend of Beethoven's, Dr. von Malfatti. Herein lies the 
explanation of an unusually kind relationship with Beethoven which 
resulted in a less severe regard for conventional forms. Nothing is known 
of a particular intimacy between her and Beethoven. A relative of the 
Baroness, who knew her intimately, knows also that she and Beethoven 
formed a lasting friendship, but as to any warmer feeling on either side 
he knew nothing, nor anything to the contrary; but he says: "When 
conversation turned on Beethoven, she spoke of him reverentially, but 
with a certain reserve." 

Through these Malfattis, Beethoven became also known 
personally to the physician of the same name and "they were great 

accompanying some music, reads as follows: "I intended to visit you last night, but 
recalled in time that you are not at home on Saturdays — and I discover that I must 
viitii you very often or not at all — I do not yet know which shall be my choice, but I 
almost believe the latter — because by so doing I shall evade all compulsion of having 
to come to you." 

'Here Dr. Riemann has introduced into the text: "The serious interest which 
Beethoven felt for Therese could be questioned or ignored by the biographers so long 
as certain letters of (Jleichenstein were accepted as belonging to the year 1807, which 
we must certainly now assign to the spring of 1810, a time when Therese had passed 
her 18th year and may have been 20 since (if the record of her age at her death is cor- 
rect) she may have been born in 1791, so that, in view moreover of the Italian origin 
of her family, it was scarcely apposite to speak of her as 'half a child' in 1810." 

Malfatti, Bertolini and Mme. Streicher 87 

friends for a long time. Towards each other they were like two 
hard millstones, and they separated. Malfatti used to say of 
Beethoven : *He is a disorderly (konfuser) fellow — but all the same 
he may be the greatest genius.' " The assistant of Malfatti, Dr. 
Bertolini, was long the confidential physician of Beethoven; and 
through him he became personally known to the present head of 
the great firm of "Miller & Co.," wholesale merchants in Vienna, 
who for many years was fond of describing his interviews, in youth, 
with the "great Beethoven." Though nothing specially worthy 
of record took place, Mr. Miller's recollections are interesting as 
additional testimony to the activity of the master's mind and his 
enjoyment of jocose, witty and improving conversation. Through 
a caprice of Beethoven, his cordial relations to Dr. Bertolini 
came to an abrupt end about 1815; but the doctor, though pained 
and mortified, retained his respect and veneration for his former 
friend to the last. In 1831, he gave a singular proof of his delicate 
regard for Beethoven's reputation; supposing himself to be at the 
point of death from cholera, and being too feeble to examine his 
large collection of the composer's letters and notes to him, he 
ordered them all to be burned, because a few were not of a nature 
to be risked in careless hands. 

The reader will not have forgotten Marie Anna Stein of 
Augsburg — pianoforte-maker Stein's "Madl," as Mozart called her. 
After the death of her father (February 29, 1792), she, being then 
just 23 years of age, assisted by her brother, Matthaus Andreas, a 
youth of sixteen years, took charge of and continued his business. 
The great reputation of the Stein instruments led to the removal 
of the Steins to Vienna. An imperial patent, issued January 17, 
1794, empowered Nanette and Andreas Stein to establish their 
business "in the Landstrasse 301, zur Rothen Rose," and in 
the following July they arrived, accompanied by Johann Andreas 
Streicher, an "admirable pianist and teacher" of Munich, to whom 
Nanette was engaged. The business flourished nobly under the 
firm-name "Geschwister Stein" until 1802, "when they separated 
and each carried on an independent business." It is known that 
Beethoven, immediately upon the arrival of the Steins, renewed 
his intercourse with them, of which, however, there is but a single 
record worth quoting, until a period several years later than 
that before us. Reichardt writes in his letter of February 7, 1809: 

Streicher has abandoned the soft, yielding, repercussive tone of the 
other Vienna instruments, and at Beethoven's wish and advice given his 
instruments greater resonance and elasticity, so that the virtuoso who 
plays with strength and significance may have the instrument in better 

88 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

command for sustained and expressive tones. He has thereby given his 
instruments a larger and more varied character, so that they must give 
greater satisfaction than the others to all virtuosi who seek something 
more than mere easy brilliancy in their style of playing. 

This shows us Beethoven in a new character — that of an 
improver of the pianoforte. The "young Stein" mentioned by 
Ries, was Nanette's brother Carl Friedrich, who followed his 
sister to Vienna in 1804. 

One of Beethoven's characteristic notes to Zmeskall, not 
dated, but belonging in these years, adds another name to the long 
list which proves that, however unpopular the composer may 
have been with his brother musicians, he possessed qualities and 
tastes that endeared him to the best class of rising young men in 
the learned professions: 

The Jahn brothers are as little attractive to me as to you. But 
they have so pestered me, and finally referred me to you as one of their 
visitors, that at the last I consented. Come then in God's name, it may 
be I will call for you at Zizius's, if not, come there direct, so that I may 
not be left there without the company of human beings. We will let 
our commissions wait until you are better able to look after them. If 
you cannot, come to the Swan to-day where I shall surely go. 

Dr. Johann Zizius, of Bohemia (born January 7, ITT'S), appears 
at the early age of 28, in the Staats-Schematismus for 1800, as 
professor of political science to the R. I. Staff of Guards; three 
years later he has the same professorship in the Theresianum, 
which he retained to his death in 1824, filling also in his later years 
the chair of constitutional law in the University. Dr. Sonn- 
leithner made his acquaintance about 1820. In his very valuable 
and interesting "Musikalische Skizzen aus AIt-^Yien" ("Recen- 
sion en," 1863), he describes Zizius in a way which shows him 
to have been a man after Beethoven's own heart until his in- 
creasing infirmity excluded him in great measure from mixed 

The attraction of Beethoven's personal character for young 
persons of more than ordinary genius and culture has been already 
noted. Another illustration of this was Julius Franz Borgias 
Schneller, born (1777) at Strasburg, educated at Freiberg in the 
Breisgau, and just now (1805) professor of history in the Lyceum 
at Linz on the Danube. Driven into exile because of his active 
resistance to the French, he had made his way to Vienna, where 
his fine qualities of head and heart made him a welcome guest in- 
literary circles and gained him the affection of the young writers 
of the capital. In 1803, he received his appointment at Linz, 

Beethoven and his Predecessors 89 

whence, three years later, he was advanced to the same position 
in the new university at Gratz. Perhaps the most beloved of his 
friends was Gleichenstein. 

We pass to the notices of Ries, Czerny and others, which 
record divers characteristic anecdotes and personal traits of the 
master, not susceptible of exact chronological arrangement but 
which belong to this period. "Of all composers," says Ries 
("Notizen," p. 84), "Beethoven valued most highly Mozart and 
Handel, then S. Bach. Whenever I found him with music in his 
hand or lying on his desk it was surely compositions of these 
heroes. Haydn seldom escaped without a few sly thrusts." 
Compare this with what Jahn heard from Czerny: "Once Beet- 
hoven saw at my house the scores of six quartets by Mozart. He 
opened the fifth, in A, and said : 'That's a work ! that's where Mozart 
said to the world : Behold what I might have done for you if the 
time were here!'" And, touching Handel: "Graun's *Tod Jesu' 
was unknown to Beethoven. My father brought the score to 
him, which he played through a vista in a masterly manner. When 
he came to a place where Graun had written a twofold ending to be 
left to the choice of the performer, he said: *The man must have 
had the gripes not to be able to say which ending is the better!' 
At the end he said that the fugues were passable, the rest ordinary. 
Then he picked up Handel's *Messiah' with the words: 'Here 
is a different fellow!' and played the most interesting numbers 
and called our attention to several resemblances to Haydn's 
'Creation,' etc." "Once," says Ries (p. 100), "when after a lesson 
we were talking about fugue themes, I sitting at the pianoforte and 
he beside me, I played the first fugue theme from Graun's 'Tod 
Jesu'; he began to play it after me with his left hand, then brought 
in the right and developed it for perhaps half an hour. I am still 
unable to understand how he could have endured the uncom- 
fortable position so long. His enthusiasm made him insensible 
to external impressions." In another place (p. 87) he relates: 
"During a walk I mentioned to Beethoven two pure fifth pro- 
gressions which sound striking and beautiful in his C minor 
Quartet (Op. 18). He did not know them and denied that they 
were fifths. It being his habit always to carry ruled paper with 
him, I asked him for a sheet and wrote down the passage in all 
four voices; seeing that I was right he said: 'Well, and who has 
forbidden them?' Not knowing how to take the question, I 
had him repeat it several times until I finally answered in 
amazement: 'But they are first principles!' The question was 
repeated again, whereupon I answered: 'Marpurg, Kirnberger, 

90 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Fux, etc., etc., all theoreticians!' — 'And I allow them thus!^ was 
his answer." ^ 

We quote again from Ries (p. 106): 

I recall only two instances in which Beethoven told me to add a few 
notes to his composition: once in the theme of the rondo of the 'Sonate 
Pathetique' (Op. 13), and again in the theme of the rondo of his first 
Concerto in C major, where he gave me some passages in double notes 
to make it more brilliant. He played this last rondo, in fact, with an 
expression peculiar to himself. In general he played his own composi- 
tions very freakishly, holding firmly to the measure, however, as a rule 
and occasionally, but not often, hurrying the tempo. At times he would 
hold the tempo back in his crescendo with ritardando, which made a 
very beautiful and highly striking effect. In playing he would give 
a passage now in the right hand, now in the left, a lovely and abso- 
lutely inimitable expression; but he very seldom added notes or orna- 
ments .... (p. 100). He played his own compositions very unwillingly. 
Once he was making serious preparations for a long trip which we were 
to make together, on which I was to arrange the concerts and play his 
concertos as well as other compositions. He was to conduct and im- 

And now something more on the subject of Beethoven's im- 
provisations. Says Ries: "This last was certainly the most extra- 
ordinary (performance) any one was ever privileged to listen to, 
especially when he was in good humor or excited. Not a single 
artist of all that I have heard ever reached the plane in this re- 
spect which Beethoven occupied. The wealth of ideas which 
crowded in upon him, the moods to which he surrendered himself, 
the variety of treatment, the difficulties which offered themselves 
or were introduced by him, were inexhaustible." And Czerny: 

Beethoven's improvisation (with which he created the greatest 
sensation in the first years of his sojourn in Vienna and even caused 
Mozart to wonder) was of the most varied kind, whether he was treating 
themes chosen by himself or set for him by others. 

1. In the first-movement form or the final rondo of a sonata, when 
he regularly closed the first section and introduced a second melody in 
a related key, etc., but in the second section gave himself freely to all 
manner of treatment of the motivi. In Allegros the work was enlivened 
by bravura passages which were mostly more difficult than those to be 
found in his compositions, 

2. In the free-variation form, about Hke his Choral Fantasia, Op. 
80, or the choral finale of his Ninth Symphony, l)oth of which give a faith- 
ful illustration of his improvisations in this form. 

^Quid licet Jori non licet tori; the maxim otipht to be repeated every time this 
familiar story i.s told. Moreover, those who repeat Beethoven's remark oftenest 
always omit a very significant word in it: "Und so erlaube ich sie!" i.e., "When used 
in the manner illustrated in the meaimre in question, I allow them." Beethoven 
gave no general license. 

Beethoven's Improvisations 91 

3. In the mixed genre, where, in the potpourri style, one thought 
follows upon another, as in his solo Fantasia, Op. 77. Often a few tones 
would suffice to enable him to improvise an entire piece (as, for instance, 
the Finale of the third Sonata, D major, of Op. 10). 

Nobody equalled him in the rapidity of his scales, double trills, 
skips, etc. — not even Hummel. His bearing while playing was master- 
fully quiet, noble and beautiful, without the slightest grimace (only 
bent forward low, as his deafness grew upon him) ; his fingers were very 
powerful, not long, and broadened at the tips by much playing, for he 
told me very often indeed that he generally had to practise until after 
midnight in his youth. 

In teaching he laid great stress on a correct position of the fingers 
(after the school of Emanuel Bach, which he used in teaching me); he 
could scarcely span a tenth. He made frequent use of the pedals, much 
more frequent than is indicated in his works. His playing of the scores 
of Handel and Gluck and the fugues of Seb. Bach was unique, in that in 
the former he introduced a full-voicedness and a spirit which gave these 
works a new shape. 

He was also the greatest a vista player of his time (even in score- 
reading) ; he scanned every new and unfamiliar composition like a divin- 
ation and his judgment was always correct, but, especially in his younger 
years, very keen, biting, unsparing. Much that the world admired then 
and still admires he saw in an entirely different light from the lofty 
point of view of his genius. 

Extraordinary as his playing was when he improvised, it was fre- 
quently less successful when he played his printed compositions, for, 
as he never had patience or time to practise, the result would generally 
depend on accident or his mood; and as his playing, like his compositions, 
was far ahead of his time, the pianofortes of the period (until 1810), still 
extremely weak and imperfect, could not endure his gigantic style of 
performance. Hence it was that Hummel's purling, brilliant style, well 
calculated to suit the manner of the time, was much more comprehen- 
sible and pleasing to the public. But Beethoven's performance of slow 
and sustained passages produced an almost magical effect upon every 
listener and, so far as I know, was never surpassed. 

Pass we to certain minor characteristic traits which Ries has 
recorded of his master: 

Beethoven recalled his youth, and his Bonn friends, with great pleas- 
ure, although his memory told of hard times, on the whole. Of his mother, 
in particular, he spoke with love and feeling, calling her often an honest, 
good-hearted woman. He spoke but little and unwillingly of his father, 
who was most to blame for the family misery, but a single hard word 
against him uttered by another would anger him. On the whole he was 
a thoroughly good and kind man, on whom his moods and impetuousness 
played shabby tricks. He would have forgiven anybody, no matter 
how grievously he had injured him or whatever wrong he had done him, 
if he had found him in an unfortunate position. ("Notizen," p. 122.) 

Beethoven was often extremely violent. One day we were eating 
our noonday meal at the Swan inn; the waiter brought him the wrong 
dish. Scarcely had Beethoven spoken a few words about the matter. 

92 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

which the waiter answered in a manner not altogether modest, when 
Beethoven seized the dish (it was a mess of lungs with plenty of gravy) 
and threw it at the waiter's head. The poor fellow had an armful of 
other dishes (an adeptness which Viennese waiters possess in a high 
degree) and could not help himself; the gravy ran down his face. He 
and Beethoven screamed and vituperated while all the other guests 
roared with laughter. Finally, Beethoven himself was overcome with 
the comicalness of the situation, as the waiter who wanted to scold could 
not, because he was kept busy licking from his chops the gravy that ran 
down his face, making the most ridiculous grimaces the while. It was 
a picture worthy of Hogarth. ("Notizen," p. 121.) 

Beethoven knew scarcely anything about money, because of which 
he had frequent quarrels; since he was always mistrustful, and frequently 
thought himself cheated when it was not the case. Easily excited, he 
called people cheats, for which in the case of waiters he had to make good 
with tips. At length his peculiarities and absentmindedness became 
known in the inns which he frequented most often and he was permitted 
to go his way, even when he went without paying his bill. ''"Notizen," 
p. 122.) 

Beethoven had taken lessons on the violin even after he reached 
Vienna from Krumpholz and frequently when I was there we played his 
Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin together. But it was really a horrible 
music; for in his enthusiastic zeal he never heard when he began a passage 
with bad fingering. 

In his behavior Beethoven was awkward and helpless; his uncouth 
movements were often destitute of all grace. He seldom took anything 
into his hands without dropping and breaking it. Thus he frequently 
knocked his ink-well into the pianoforte which stood near by the side of 
his writing-table. No piece of furniture was safe from him, least of all 
a costly piece. Everything was overturned, soiled and destroyed. It 
is hard to comprehend how he accomplished so much as to be able to shave 
himself, even leaving out of consideration the number of cuts on his 
cheeks. He could never learn to dance in time. ("Notizen," p. 119.) 

Beethoven attached no value to his manuscripts; after they were 
printed they lay for the greater part in an anteroom or on the floor 
among other pieces of music. I often put his music to rights; but when- 
ever he hunted something, everything was thrown into confusion again. 
I might at that time have carried away the original manuscripts of all 
his printed pieces; and if I had asked him for them he would unquestion- 
ably have given them to me without a thought. ("Notizen," p. 113.) 

Beethoven felt the loss of Ries very sensibly; hut it was in part 
supplied by young llockel, to whom he took a great liking. In- 
viting him to call, he told him he would give special orders to his 
servant to admit him at all times, even in the morning when liusy. 
It was agreed that, when Rockel was admitted, if he found Beet- 
hoven very nmch occupied he should pass through the room into 
the bed-chamber beyond — both rooms overlooked the Glacis from 
the fourth story of the Pasqualati house on the Molker Bastei — 
and there await him a reasonable time; if the composer came not, 

Characteristics of the Composer 93 

Rockel should quietly pass out again. It happened one morning 
upon his first visit, that Rockel found at the street door a carriage 
with a lady in it; and, on reaching the fourth storey, there, at 
Beethoven's door, was Prince Lichnowsky in a dispute with the 
servant about being admitted. The man declared he dared not 
admit anybody, as his master was busy and had given express 
orders not to admit any person whatever. Rockel, however, hav- 
ing the entree, informed Beethoven that Lichnowsky was out- 
side. Though in ill humor, he could no longer refuse to see him. 
The Prince and his wufe had come to take Beethoven out for an 
airing; and he finally consented, but, as he entered the carriage, 
Rockel noticed that his face was still cloudy. 

That Beethoven and Ignatz von Seyfried were brought much 
together in these years, the reader already knows. Their ac- 
quaintance during thirty years — which, for at least half of the 
time, was really the "friendly relationship" which Seyfried 
names it — was, he says, "never weakened, never disturbed by 
even the smallest quarrel — not that we were both always of a mind, 
or could be, but we always spoke freely and frankly to each other, 
without reserve, according to our convictions, without conceitedly 
trying to force upon one another our opinions as infallible." 

Besides, Beethoven was much too straightforward, open and tolerant 
to give offence to another by disapprobation, or contradiction; he was 
wont to laugh heartily at what did not please him and I confidently 
believe that I may safely say that in all his life he never, at least not 
consciously, made an enemy; only those to whom his peculiarities were 
unknown were unable quite to understand how to get along with him; 
I am speaking here of an earlier time, before the misfortune of deafness 
had come upon him; if, on the contrary, Beethoven sometimes carried 
things to an extreme in his rude honesty in the case of many, mostly 
those who had imposed themselves upon him as protectors, the fault lay 
only in this, that the honest German always carried his heart on his tongue 
and understood everything better than how to flatter; also because, 
conscious of his own merit, he would never permit himself to be made the 
plaything of the vain whims of the Maecenases who were eager to boast 
of their association with the name and fame of the celebrated master. 
And so he was misunderstood only by those who had not the patience 
to get acquainted with the apparent eccentric. When he composed 
"Fidelio," the oratorio "Christus am Olberg," the symphonies in 
E-flat, C minor and F, the Pianoforte Concertos in C minor and G major, 
and the Violin Concerto in D, we were living in the same house ' and (since 
we were each carrying on a bachelor's apartment) we dined at the same 
restaurant and chatted away many an unforgettable hour in the con- 
fidential intimacy of colleagues, for Beethoven was then merry, ready for 
any jest, happy, full of life, witty and not seldom satirical. No physical 

^Seyfried's memory has here in part played him false. 

94 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

ill had then afflicted him [?]; no loss of the sense which is peculiarly in- 
dispensable to the musician had darkened his life; only weak eyes had 
remained with him as the results of the smallpox with which he had been 
afflicted in his childhood, and these compelled him even in his early 
youth to resort to concave, very strong (highly magnifying) spectacles.^ 
He had me play the pieces mentioned, recognized throughout the 
musical world as masterpieces, and, without giving me time to think, 
demanded to know my opinion of them; I was permitted to give it 
without restraint, without fearing that I should offend any artistic con- 
ceit — a fault which was utterly foreign to his nature. 

The above is from "Cacilia," Vol. IX, 218, 219. In the so- 
called "Studien" (appendix) are other reminiscences, which form 
an admirable supplement to it. Those which belong to the years 
1800-1805 follow: 

Our master could not be presented as a model in respect of con- 
ducting, and the orchestra always had to have a care in order not to be 
led astray by its mentor; for he had ears only for his composition and 
was ceaselessly occupied by manifold gesticulations to indicate the de- 
sired expression. He used to suggest a diminuendo by crouching down 
more and more, and at a pianissimo he would almost creep under the 
desk. When the volume of sound grew he rose up also as if out of a 
stage-trap, and with the entrance of the power of the band he would 
stand upon the tips of his toes almost as big as a giant, and waving 
his arms, seemed about to soar upwards to the skies. Everything about 
him was active, not a bit of his organism idle, and the man was com- 
parable to a perpetuum mobile. He did not belong to those capricious 
composers whom no orchestra in the world can satisfy. At times, indeed, 
he was altogether too considerate and did not even repeat passages which 
went badly at the rehearsal: "It will go better next time," he would say. 
He was very particular about expression, the delicate nuances, the 
equable distribution of light and shade as well as an effective tempo 
ruhato, and without betraying vexation, would discuss them with the 
individual players. When he then observed that the players would 
enter into his intentions and play together with increasing ardor, in- 
spired by the magical power of his creations, his face would be trans- 
figured with joy, all his features beamed pleasure and satisfaction, a 
pleased smile would play around his lips and a thundering "Bravi tutti!" 
reward the successful achievement. It was the first and loftiest trium- 
phal moment for the genius, compared with which, as he confessed, the 
tempestuous applause of a receptive audience was as nothing. When 
playing at first sight, there were frequent pauses for the purpose of cor- 
recting the parts and then the thread would be broken; but he was 
patient even then; but when things went to pieces, particularly in the 
scherzos of his syni|)h<)nics at a sudden and unexpected change of rhythm, 
he would shout with laughter and say he had expected notliing else, but 
was reckoning on it from the beginning; he was ahnost childishly glad 
that he had been successful in "unhorsing such excellent riders." 

'Another alight mistake. Schindler was in possession of Heethoven's glasses 
and they were by no means "very strong." 

Deafness and Disorderliness 95 

Before Beethoven was afflicted with his organic ailment, he attended 
the opera frequently and with enjoyment, especially the admirable and 
flourishing Theater-an-der-Wien, perhaps, also, for convenience' sake, 
since he had scarcely to do more than to step from his room into the 
parterre. There he was fascinated more especially by the creations of 
Cherubini and Mehul, which at that time were just beginning to stir up 
the enthusiasm of all Vienna. There he would plant himself hard against 
the orchestra rail and, dumb as a dunce, remain till the last stroke of the 
bows. This was the only sign, however, that the art work had interested 
him; if, on the contrary, the piece did not please him he would turn on 
his heel at the first fall of the curtain and take himself away. It was, 
in fact, difficult, yes, utterly impossible to tell from his features whether 
or not he was pleased or displeased; he was always the same, apparently 
cold, and just as reserved in his judgments concerning his companions 
in art; his mind was at work ceaselessly, but the physical shell was like 
soulless marble. Strangely enough, on the other hand, hearing wretched 
music was a treat to him which he proclaimed by a peal of laughter. 
Everybody who knew him intimately knew that in this art he was a 
virtuoso, but it was a pity that those who were near him were seldom 
able to fathom the cause of such explosions, since he often laughed at 
his most secret thoughts and conceits without giving an accounting of 

He was never found on the street without a small note-book in 
which he was wont to record his passing ideas. Whenever conversation 
turned on the subject he would parody Joan of Arc's words: "I dare not 
come without my banner!" — and he adhered to his self-given rule with 
unparalleled tenacity; although otherwise a truly admirable disorder 
prevailed in his household. Books and music were scattered in every 
corner; here the remnants of a cold luncheon; here sealed or half-emptied 
bottles; here upon a stand the hurried sketches of a quartet; here the 
remains of a dejeuner; there on the pianoforte, on scribbled paper the 
material for a glorious symphony still slumbering in embryo; here a 
proof-sheet awaiting salvation; friendly and business letters covering 
the floor; between the windows a respectable loaf of strachino, ad latus 
a considerable ruin of a genuine Veronese salami — yet despite this varied 
mess our master had a habit, quite contrary to the reality, of proclaim- 
ing his accuracy and love of order on all occasions with Ciceronian 
eloquence. Only when it became necessary to spend days, hours, 
sometimes weeks, in finding something necessary and all efforts remained 
fruitless, did he adopt a different tone, and the innocent were made to 
bear the blame. "Yes, yes," was the complaint, "that's a misfortune! 
Nothing is permitted to remain where I put it; everything is moved about; 
everything is done to vex me; O men, men!" But his servants knew the 
good-natured grumbler; let him growl to his heart's content, and — in a 
few minutes all would be forgotten, until another occasion brought with 
it a renewal of the scene. 

He often made merry over his illegible handwriting and excused him- 
self by saying: "Life is too short to paint letters or notes; and prettier 
notes would scarcely help me out of needs. "^ 

'One of Beethoven's puns, the point of which is lost in the translation: "Schonere 
Noten brachten mich schwerlich aus den Nothen." 

96 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The whole forenoon, from the first ray of light till the meal hour, 
was devoted to mechanical labor, i. e., to transcribing; the rest of the day 
was given to thought and the ordering of ideas. Hardly had he put 
the last bit in his mouth before he began his customary promenade, un- 
less he had some other excursion in petto; that is to say, he hurried in 
double-quick time several times around the city, as if urged on by a goad; 
and this, let the weather be what it might. 

And his hearing — how was it with that? 

A question not to be answered to full satisfaction. It is clear 
that the "Notizen" of Wegeler and Ries, the Biography (first 
editions) of Schindler, and especially the papers from Beethoven's 
own hand printed in those volumes, have given currency to a very 
exaggerated idea of the progress of his infirmity. On the other 
hand, Se\'iried as evidently errs in the other direction ; and yet Carl 
Czerny, both in his published and manuscripts notices, goes even 
farther. For instance, he writes to Jahn: "Although he had suf- 
fered from pains in his ears and the like ever since 1800, he still 
heard speech and music perfectly well until nearly 1812," and 
adds in confirmation: "As late as the years 1811-1812 I studied 
things with him and he corrected with great care, as well as ten 
years before." This, however, proves nothing, as Beethoven 
performed feats of this kind still more remarkable down to the 
last year of his life. Beethoven's Lamentation, the testament of 
1802, is one extreme, the statements of Se;yfried and Czerny the 
other; the truth lies somewhere between. 

In June, 1801, Beethoven is "obliged to lean down to the 
orchestral rail to hear a drama." The next summer he cannot 
hear a flute or pipe to which Ries calls his attention. In 1804, 
as Dolezalek tells Jahn, "in the rehearsals to the 'Eroica' he did 
not always hear the wind-instruments distinctly and missed them 
when they were playing." The evil was then making, if slow, 
still sure progress. "In those years,'* says Schindler, "there w^as 
a priest named Pater \Yeiss in the Metropolitan Church of St. 
Stephen who occupied himself with healing the deaf and had 
accomplished many fortunate cures. He was not a mere em- 
piricist, but was familiar with the physiology of the ear; he 
effected his cures with simple remedies, and enjoyed a wide fame 
among the people, and also the respect of medical practitioners. 
With the consent of his physician our terrified tone-poet had also 
entrusted his case to the priest." Precisely when this was, is un- 
known; it could not, however, have been until after Dr. Schmidt's 
treatment had proved hopeless. The so-called Fischoff Manu- 
script, evidently on the authority of Zmeskall himself, gives a 
more particular account than Schindler of Pater Weiss's ex- 

Neglect of Medical Treatment 97 

perience with his new patient. "Herr v. Zmeskall with great 
difficulty persuaded Beethoven to go there with him. At first 
he followed the advice of the physician; but as he had to go to him 
every day in order to have a fluid dropped into his ear, this grew 
unpleasant, the more since, in his impatience, he felt little or no 
improvement; and he remained away. The physician, questioned 
by Zmeskall, told him the facts, and Zmeskall begged him to 
accommodate himself to the self-willed invalid, and consult his 
convenience. The priest, honestly desirous to help Beethoven, 
went to his lodgings, but his efforts were in vain, inasmuch as 
Beethoven in a few days refused him entrance, and thus neglected 
possible help or at least an amelioration of his condition." 

Probably the evil was of such a nature that, with all the 
resources of our present medical science, it could hardly have 
been impeded, much less arrested. This is poor consolation, but 
the best we have. The sufferer now resigned himself to his fate. 
On a page of twenty-one leaves of sketches to the Rasoumowsky 
Quartets, Op. 59, stands written in pencil — if correctly deciphered 
— these words from his hand: 

Even as you have plunged into the whirlpool of society, you will 
find it possible to compose operas in spite of social obstacles. 

Let your deafness no longer remain a secret — not even in art ! 

Chapter VI 

Princes as Theatrical Directors — Disappointed Expectations — 
Subscription Concerts at Prince Lobkowitz's — The Sym- 
phony in B-flat — The "Coriolan" Overture — Contract 
with Clementi— The Mass in C— The Year 1807. 

A CONTROVERSY for the possession of the two Court 
Theatres and that An-der-Wien involved certain legal 
questions which, in September, 1806, were decided by the 
proper tribunal against the old directors, who were thus at the 
end of the year compelled to retire. Peter, Baron von Braun, 
closed his twelve years' administration with a circular letter ad- 
dressed to his recent subordinates, dated December 28, in which, 
after bidding them an affectionate adieu, he said: "With imperial 
consent I have turned over the vice-direction of the Royal Im- 
perial Court Theatre to a company composed of the following 
cavaliers: the Princes Lobkowitz, Schwarzenberg and Esterhazy 
and the Counts Esterhazy, Lodron, Ferdinand Palffy, Stephen 
Zichy and Niklas Esterhazy." 

Beethoven naturally saw in this change a most hopeful pros- 
pect of an improvement in his own theatrical fortunes, and im- 
mediately, acting on a hint from Lobkowitz, addressed to the new 
directors a petition and proposals for a permanent engagement, 
with a fixed salary, in their service. The document was as follows: 

To the Worshipful R. I. Theatre Direction: 

The undersigned flatters himself that during his past sojourn in 
Vienna he has won some favor with not only the high nobility but also 
the general public, and has secured an honorable acceptance of his works 
at home and abroad. 

Nevertheless, he has been obliged to struggle with difficulties of all 
kinds and has not yet been able to establish himself here in a position 
which would enable him to fulfil his desire to live wholly for art, to de- 
velop his talents to a still higher degree of perfection, which must be the 
goal of every true artist, and to make certain for the future the for- 
tuitous advantages of the present. 

Inasmuch as the undersigned has always striven less for a liveli- 
hood than for the interests of art, the ennoblement of taste and the 


Plans to Keep Beethoven in Vienna 99 

uplifting of his genius toward higher ideals and perfection, it necessarily 
happens that he often was compelled to sacrifice profit and advantage to 
the Muse. Yet works of this kind won for him a reputation in foreign 
lands which assures him of a favorable reception in a number of con- 
siderable cities and a lot commensurate with his talents and opportunities. 

But in spite of this the undersigned cannot deny that the many 
years during which he has lived here and the favor and approval which 
he has enjoyed from high and low have aroused in him a wish wholly 
to fulfil the expectations which he has been fortunate enough to awaken; 
and let him say also, the patriotism of a German has made this place 
more estimable and desirable than any other. 

He can, therefore, not forbear before deciding to leave the city so 
dear to him, to follow the suggestion kindly made to him by His Serene 
Highness the ruling Prince Lobkowitz, who intimated that a Worshipful 
Direction was not disinclined under proper conditions to engage the 
undersigned for the service of the theatre under their management and 
to ensure his further sojourn here by offering him the means of a perma- 
nent livelihood favorable to the exercise of his talent. 

Inasmuch as this intimation is in perfect accord with the desires of 
the undersigned, he takes the liberty to submit an expression of his will- 
ingness as well as the following stipulations for the favorable consideration 
of the Worshipful Direction: 

1. He promises and contracts to compose every year at least one 
grand opera, to be selected jointly by the Worshipful Direction and the 
undersigned; in return he asks a fixed remuneration of 2400 florins per 
annum and the gross receipts of the third performance of each of such 

2. He agrees to deliver gratis each year a small operetta, diver- 
tissement, choruses or occasional pieces according to the wishes or needs 
of the Worshipful Direction, but hopes that the Worshipful Direction 
will not hesitate in return for such works to give him one day in each 
year for a benefit concert in the theatre building. 

If one reflects what an expenditure of capacity and time is required 
for the making of an opera to the absolute exclusion of every other in- 
tellectual occupation, and further, that in cities where the author and 
his family have a share in the receipts at every performance, a single 
successful work may make the fortune of an author; and still further how 
small a compensation, owing to the monetary condition and high prices 
for necessaries which prevail here, is at the command of a local artist 
to whom foreign lands are open, the above conditions can certainly not 
be thought to be excessive or unreasonable. 

But whether or not the Worshipful Direction confirms and accepts 
this offer, the undersigned appends the request that he be given a day 
for a musical concert in one of the theatre buildings; for, in case the pro- 
position is accepted, the undersigned will at once require his time and 
powers for the composition of the opera and therefore be unable to use 
them for his profit in another direction. In the event of a declination of 
the present offer, moreover, since the permission for a concert granted 
last year could not be utilized because of various obstacles which inter- 
vened, the undersigned would look upon the fulfilment of last year's 
promise as a highest sign of the great favor heretofore enjoyed by him. 

100 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

and he requests that in the first case the day be set on the Feast of the 
Annunciation, in the second on one of the approaching Christmas 

Ludwig van Beethoven, m. p. 
Vienna, 1807. 

Neither of these requests was granted directly; one of them 
only indirectly. Nor is it known that any formal written reply 
was conveyed to the petitioner. The cause of this has been 
strangely suggested to lie in an old grudge — the very existence of 
which is a mere conjecture — cherished against Beethoven by 
Count Palffy, director of the German Drama. But it is quite 
needless to go so far for a reason. The composer's well-known 
increasing infirmity of hearing, his habits of procrastination, and 
above all his inability, so often proved, to keep the peace with 
orchestra and singers — all this was too well known to the new 
directors, whatever may have been their own personal wishes, 
to justify the risk of attaching him permanently to an institution 
for the success of which they were responsible to the Emperor. 
It is very evident, that they temporized with him. His petition 
must have been presented at the very beginning of the year; other- 
wise the grant of a theatre for a concert at the Feast of the An- 
nunciation (March 25) would have been useless, for want of time 
to make the necessary preparations; and an allusion to the 
"princely rabble" in a letter written in May, proves that no 
answer had then been given him; and a reference to the matter 
by the correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung" near the end of 
the year shows that at least none had then been made public. 
So far as is known, the Directors chose to let the matter drop 
quietly and gave him none; nor did they revive "Fidelio" — for 
which abundant reasons suggest themselves. But they gave 
Beethoven ample proof that no motives of personal animosity, 
no lack of admiration for his talents or appreciation of his genius, 
governed their decision. Prince Esterhazy ordered the com- 
position of a mass, and immediate preparations were made for 
the performance of his orchestral works "in a very select circle 
that contributed a very considerable sum for the benefit of the 
composer," as a writer in the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung" remarks. 
These performances took place in March "at the house of Prince 
L." according to the "Journal des Luxus." 

Was "Prince L." Lobkowitz or Lichnowsky? The details 
above given point decisively to the former. It is true that the 
paroxysm of wrath, in which Beethoven had so unceremoniously 
parted from Lichnowsky in the Autumn, had so far subsided 

The Symphony in B-flat 101 

that he now granted the Prince the use of his new manuscript 
overture; but the contemporary notice, from which this fact is 
derived, is in such terms as of itself to preclude the idea that 
this performance of it was in one of the two subscription 
concerts. In these subscription concerts three new works were 
performed : the Fourth Symphony, ^ in B-flat major, the Fourth 
Pf. Concerto, in G major, and the "Coriolan" Overture. About 
the latter something is to be said. The manuscript bears the 
composer's own date, 1807. Collin's tragedy was originally per- 
formed November 24, 1802, with "between-acts music" arranged 
by Abbe Stadler from Mozart's "Idomeneus." The next year Lange 
assumed the leading part with a success of which he justly boasts 
in his autobiography, and played it so often down to March 5, 
1805, as to make the work thoroughly familiar to the theatre- 
going public. From that date to the end of October, 1809 (how 
much longer we have no means at hand of knowing), it was played 
but once — namely, on April 24, 1807. The overture was assuredly 
not written for that one exceptional performance; for, if so, it 
would not have been played in March in two different concerts. 
Nor was it played, April 24th, in the theatre; if it had been, the 
correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung," writing after its 
public performance in the Liebhaber Concerts near the end of 
the year, could not have spoken of it as *'a new overture." It 
is, therefore, obvious that this work was composed for these 
subscription concerts. Beethoven had at this time written but 

^The genesis of the fourth symphony, in B-flat, Op. 60, is but imperfectly known. 
Nottebohm's studies of the sketchbooks, which are so frequently helpful, fail us utterly 
here. The autograph score bears the inscription, "Sinfonia 4'*, 1806, L. v. Bthvn." 
Having been played in March, 1807, at one of the two subscription concerts at Lobko- 
witz's, it was, of course, finished at that time. Beethoven referred to it in his letter 
to Breitkopf and Hartel from Gratz on September 3, 1806. This is not convincing 
proof that it was all ready at the time, but certainly that it was well under way. On 
November 18 he wrote to the same firm that he could not then give them the promised 
symphony, because a gentleman of quality had purchased its use for six months. It is 
within the bounds of possibility that this reference was to the symphony in C minor, the 
sketches for which date back at least to 1805, though it was not completed till March, 
1808, at the earliest. It would seem that work on the C minor symphony was laid 
aside in favor of the fourth, which was either written or sketched in the late summer 
and fall of 1806, and completed in Vienna in time for the performance in March, 1807. 

The symphony is dedicated to Count Oppersdorff, a Silesian nobleman. The 
castle of the Counts Oppersdorff lies near the town of Ober-Glogau, which in early 
times was under their rule. Count Franz von Oppersdorff, who died in Berlin in 1818, 
was a zealous lover of music who maintained in his castle an orchestra which he strove 
to keep complete in point of numbers by requiring all the officials in his employ to be 
able to play upon an orchestral instrument. Partly through bonds of blood and mar- 
riage, partly through those of friendship, the family of Oppersdorff was related to many 
of the noble families of Austria — Lobkowitz, Lichnowsky, etc. The castle of Lich- 
nowsky at Gratz, near Troppau, was scarcely a day's journey from Ober-GIogau. 
Thus it happened that Prince Lichnowsky, in company with Beethoven, paid a visit 
to Count Oppersdorff at his castle, on which occasion the orchestra played the Second 
Symphony. This, as the evidence indicates, was in the fall of 1806. 

102 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

three overtures — two to "FidelIo"(one of which was laid aside), 
and that to "Prometheus," which had long ceased to be a novelty. 
He needed a new one. Collin's tragedy was thoroughly well 
known and offered a subject splendidly suited to his genius. An 
overture to it was a compliment to his influential friend, the 
author, and, if successful, would be a new proof of his talent for 
dramatic composition — certainly, an important consideration just 
then, pending his application for a permanent engagement at the 
theatre. How nobly the character of Coriolanns is mirrored in 
Beethoven's music is well enough known; but the admirable adap- 
tation of the overture to the play is duly appreciated by those 
only, who have read Collin's almost forgotten work. 

The year 1807 was one of the years of Beethoven's life dis- 
tinguished by the grandeur and extent of his compositions; and 
it was probably more to avoid interruption in his labor than on 
account of ill health, that early in April he removed to Baden. 
A letter (to Herr von Troxler) in which occur these words: "I am 
coming to Vienna. I wish very much that you would go with 
me on Tuesday to Clementi, as I can make myself better under- 
stood to foreigners with my notes than by my speech," seems to 
introduce a matter of business which called him to the city for a 
few days. 

Clementi, called to Rome by the death of his brother, had 
arrived in Vienna on his way thither, and embraced the opportunity 
to acquire the exclusive right of publication in England of various 
works of Beethoven, whose great reputation, the rapidly growing 
taste for his music, and the great difficulty of obtaining continen- 
tal publications in those days of "Napoleonic ideas," combined to 
render such a right in that country one of considerable value. 
Clementi reported the results of the negotiations with Beethoven in 
a letter to his partner, F. W. Collard, with whom he had been 
associated in business for five years, which J. S. Shedlock made 
public in the "Athenaeum" of London on August 1, 1902. It 
runs as follows: 

Messrs. Clementi and Co., No, 26 Cheapside, London. 

Vienna, April 2!2d, 1807. 
Dear Collard: 

By a little management and without committing myself, I have 
at last made a coinf)lete conquest of the haughty bcautij, Beethoven, who 
first began at public places to grin and coquet with me, which of course 
I took care not to discourage; then slid into familiar chat, till meeting 
him by chance one day in the street — "Where do you lodge?" says he; 
"I have not seen you this long while!"— upon which I gave him my 
address. Two days after I found on my table his card brought by him- 

Clementi Secures a Contract 103 

self, from the maid's description of his lovely form. This will do, 
thought I. Three days after that he calls again, and finds me at home. 
Conceive then the mutual ecstasy of such a meeting! I took pretty 
good care to improve it to our house's advantage, therefore, as soon as 
decency would allow, after praising very handsomely some of his com- 
positions: "Are you engaged with any publisher in London?" — "No" 
says he. "Suppose, then, that you prefer me. ^ — "With all my heart." 
"Done. What have you ready.?" — "I'll bring you a Hst." In short I 
agree with him to take in MSS. three quartets, a symphony, an overture 
and a concerto for the violin, which is beautiful, and which, at my request 
he will adapt for the pianoforte with and without additional keys; and 
a concerto for the pianoforte, for all which we are to pay him two hundred 
pounds sterling. The property, however, is only for the British Domin- 
ions. To-day sets off a courier for London through Russia, and he will 
bring over to you two or three of the mentioned articles. 

Remember that the violin concerto he will adapt himself and send 
it as soon as he can. 

The quartets, etc., you may get Cramer or some other very clever 
fellow to adapt for the Piano-forte. The symphony and the overture are 
wonderfully fine so that I think I have made a very good bargain. What 
do you think. f* I have likewise engaged him to compose two sonatas and 
a fantasia for the Piano-forte which he is to deliver to our house for sixty 
pounds sterling (mind I have treated for Pounds, not Guineas) . In short he 
has promised to treat with no one but me for the British Dominions. 

In proportion as you receive his compositions you are to remit 
him the money; that is, he considers the whole as consisting of six 
articles, viz: three quartets, symphony, overture. Piano-forte concerto, 
violin concerto, and the adaptation of the said concerto, for which he is 
to receive £200. 

For three articles you'll remit £lOO and so on in proportion. The 
agreement says also that as soon as you receive the compositions, you 
are to pay into the hands of Messrs. E. W. and E. Lee, the stated sum, 
who are to authorize Messrs. J. G. Schuller and Comp. in Vienna to pay 
to Mr. van Beethoven, the value of the said sum, according to the 
course of exchange, and the said Messrs. Schuller and Co. are to re- 
imburse themselves on Messrs. R. W. and E. Lee. On account of the 
impediments by war, etc., I begged Beethoven to allow us 4 months 
(after the setting of his MSS.) to publish in. He said he would write 
to your house in French stating the time, for of course he sends them like- 
wise to Paris, etc., etc., and they must appear on the same day. You 
are also by agreement to send Beethoven by a convenient opportunity, 
two sets of each of the new compositions you print of his. . . . Mr. van 
Beethoven says, you may publish the 3 articles he sends by this courier 
on the 1st of September, next.^ 

The closing of the contract with Clementi had been preceded 
by negotiations with Breitkopf and Hartel for the same composi- 
tions. On the same day that Clementi wrote to Collard he also 
wrote a letter to the Leipsic publishers in which he said that he had 

^Dr. Riemann, who introduced this letter in the body of the text of this biog- 
raphy, preceded it with the following observations on the significance of the transac- 

104 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

purchased the right of publication for the British Dominions in 
consequence of their letter of January 20th, in which they had said 
that because of the war they had declined Beethoven's proposition. 
He also promised to ask Beethoven to treat with them for the 
German rights. (This fact is already known to the readers from 
the letters written by Beethoven to Breitkopf and Hartel dated 
September 3 and November 18, 1806.) Count Gleichenstein 
witnessed the signing of the contract (which is in French), the 
substance of which is as follows : 

Beethoven grants Clementi the manuscripts of the works after- 
wards enumerated, with the right to publish them in Great Britain, but 
reserving the rights for other countries. The works are: three Quartets, 
one Symphony ("the fourth that he has composed"), the Overture to 
"Coriolan," a Concerto for Violin and the arrangement of the same for 
Pianoforte "with additional notes." 

Clementi is to pay for these works the equivalent of £200 in Vien- 
nese funds at Schuller and Co.'s as soon as the arrival of the manuscripts 
is reported from London. If Beethoven cannot deliver all the composi- 
tions at once he is to be paid only in proportion. Beethoven engages to 
sell these works in Germany, France or elsewhere only on condition that 
they shall not be published until four months after they have been des- 
patched to England. In the case of the Violin Concerto, the Symphony 
and the Overture, which have just been sent off, not until September 1, 
1807. Beethoven also agrees to compose on the same terms, within 
a time not fixed, and at his own convenience, three Sonatas or two 
Sonatas and a Fantasia for Pianoforte with or without accompaniment, 
as he chooses, for which he is to be paid £60. Clementi engages to send 
Beethoven two copies of each work. The contract is executed in dupli- 
cate and signed at Vienna, April 20, 1807, by Clementi and Beethoven, i 

The quartets, in parts, had been lent to Count Franz Bruns- 
wick and were still in Hungary, which gave occasion to one of 
Beethoven's peculiarly whimsical and humorous epistles: 

tion between Beethoven and Clementi: "This business plays an extraordinarily im- 
portant role in the next three years of Beethoven's life (until the spring of ISIO). The 
publication of its details has made portions of the account in the first edition of this 
work wholly untenable, since those portions were based on the assumption that the 
conclusion of the contract with Clementi had been followed also by the prompt pay- 
ment of the honorarium (in 1807), whereas, as a matter of fact, the payment was delayed 
for three years, as has been plainly shown by the correspondence between Clementi 
and Collard. Clementi, it would seem, spent the eight years following 1802, when he 
went to St. Petersburg with Field, till 1810, entirely on the Continent (in St. Peters- 
burg, Berlin, Leipsic, Rome) and sojourned several times in Vienna. We know 
from Ries's account that he did not come into contact with Beethoven during his 
extended stay in 1804, but we also know that as early as the fall of 1804, he tried to 
secure the right of publishing Beethoven's works in England." 

^This is given from Jahn's copy, to which is appended the following note: "Titles 
of the 6 works with changed dedications: 3 quartets, the name Rasouraowsky changed 
in Beethoven's handwriting to d son Allesse le Prince Charles de Lichnowsky. The 
name of Frau von Breuning stricken out of the detlication of the arrangement of the* 
Concerto. The Pianoforte Concirto originally dedicated with a German title to 
Archduke Rudolph, then with a French title d son ami Gleichenstein." None of these 
changes was made; the "six works" came out with the dedications originally intended. 

The Famous Love-Letter Again 105 

To Count Franz von Brunswick: 

Dear, dear B ! I have only to say to you that I came to a right 
satisfactory arrangement with Clementi. I shall receive 200 pounds 
Sterling — and besides I am privileged to sell the same works in Germany 
and France. He has also offered me other commissions — so that I am 
enabled to hope through them to achieve the dignity of a true artist 
w^hile still young. / need, dear B, the Quartets. I have already asked 
your sister to write to you about them, it takes too long to copy them from 
my score — therefore make haste and send them direct to me by Letter 
Post. You shall have them back in 4 or 5 days at the latest. I beg 
you urgently for them, since otherwise I might lose a great deal. 

If you can arrange it that the Hungarians want me to come for a 
few concerts, do it — you may have me for 200 florins in gold — then I will 
bring my opera along. I will not get along with the princely rabble. 

Whenever we (several) {amici) drink your wine, we drink you, i.e., 
we drink your health. Farewell — hurry — hurry — hurry and send me the 
quartets — otherwise you may embarrass me greatly. 

Schuppanzigh has married — it is said with One very like him. 
What a family ? ? .? .? 

Kiss your sister Therese, tell her I fear I shall become great without 
the help of a monument reared by her. Send me to-morrow the quartets 
— quar-tets — t-e-t-s. 

Your friend Beethoven. ^ 

If an English publisher could afford to pay so high a price for 
the manuscripts of a German composer, why not a French one.^ 
So Beethoven reasoned, and, Bonn being then French, he wrote 
to Simrock proposing a contract like that made with Clementi. 
The letter, which was dictated and signed by Beethoven but 
written by another, expresses a desire to sell six new works to a 
publishing house in France, one in England and one in Vienna 
simultaneously, with the understanding that they are to appear 
only after a certain date. They are a symphony, an overture for 
Collin's "Coriolan," a violin concerto, 3 quartets, 1 concerto for 
the pianoforte, the violin concerto arranged for pianoforte "avee 
des notes additionelles." The price, "very cheap," is to be 1200 

iThis letter (to which allusion has been made in the chapter devoted to Beet- 
hoven's love-affairs) was first printed from the original owned by Count Geza von 
Brunswick in the "Blatter fur Theater und Musik" (No. 34). If the date, "May 11, 
1806," was written by Beethoven and is not an error by a copyist, it provides another 
instance of the composer's irresponsibility in dating his letters; for the reference to 
the contract with Clementi is irrefutable evidence that it was written in 1807. Beet- 
hoven's remark about getting great without the help of a monument reared by Therese 
von Brunswick is evidently an allusion to the fact that the Countess erected a mon- 
ument to her father in the grounds of the family-seat in Hungary, and might properly 
enough be cited, together with the commissioned kiss, as proof of the intimacy between 
the Brunswicks and Beethoven. Had there been talk of another family monument 
at Martonvasari* Beethoven's remark might easily be thus interpreted. The sister 
whom he had asked to write about the quartets was doubtless Josephine, Countess 
von Deym. The sportive remark about Schuppanzigh's marriage with one like him 
is explained by the fact that the violinist was of Falstaffian proportions. 

106 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

jBorins, Augsburg current. As regards the day of publication, he 
thinks he can fix the first of September of that year for the first 
three, and the first of October for the second three. 

Simrock answered that owing to unfavorable circumstances 
due to the war, all he could offer, in his "lean condition," was 1600 
livres. He also proposed that in case Beethoven found his offer 
fair, he should send the works without delay to Breuning. Sim- 
rock would at once pay Breuning 300 livres in cash and give him 
a bill of exchange for 1300 livres, payable in two years, provided 
nobody reprinted any of his works in France, he taking all measures 
to protect his property under the laws. 

A series of letters written from Baden and bearing dates in June 
and July, addressed to Gleichenstein, are of no special interest 
or importance except as they, when read together, establish beyond 
cavil that Beethoven made no journey to any distant watering- 
place during the time which they cover. By proving this they 
have a powerful bearing on the vexed question touching the true 
date of Beethoven's famous love-letter supposed by Schindler to 
have been addressed to the young Countess Guicciardi. That it 
was written in 1806 or 1807 was long since made certain; and it 
was only in a mistaken deference to Beethoven's "Evening, 
Monday, July 6" — which, if correct, would be decisive in favor of 
the latter year — that the letter was not inserted in its proper 
place as belonging to the year 1806. That this deference was a 
mistake, and that Beethoven should have written "July 7," is 
made certain by Simrock's letter, which, by determining the 
dates of the notes to Gleichenstein, affords positive evidence that 
the composer passed the months of June and July, 1807, in Baden. 
A cursory examination of the composer's correspondence brings 
to light other similar mistakes. There is a letter to Breitkopf 
and Hartel with this date, "Wednesday, November 2, 1809" — 
Wednesday was the 1st; a letter to Countess Erdody has "29 
February, 1815" — in that year February had l)ut 28 days; and a 
letter to Zmeskall is dated "Wednesday, July 3rd, 1817"— July 3rd 
that year falling on a Thursday. Referring the reader to what has 
appeared in a previous chapter, for the letter and a complete dis- 
cussion of the question of its date, it need only be added here, 
that it was, beyond a doubt, written from some Hungarian watering- 
place (as Schindler says), where Beethoven tarried for a time 
after his visit to Brunswick and before that to Prince Lichnowsky. 
This fact being established, it follows, as a necessary consequence, 
that it was not written to Julia Guicciardi — already nearly three 
years the wife of Gallenberg — nor to Therese Malfatti — then a 

Composition of the Mass in C 107 

girl but thirteen or at most fourteen years — nor, in short, to any 
person whose name has ever been given by biographer or novelist 
as among the objects of Beethoven's fleeting passions. Thus we 
are led to the obvious and rational conclusion, that a mutual 
appreciation had grown up between the composer and some lady 
not yet known; that there were obstacles to marriage just now 
insuperable, but not of such a nature as to forbid the expectation 
of conquering them in the future; and that — in 1807 as in 1806 
— they were happy in their love and looking forward with hope. ^ 
The following letter to Prince Esterhazy, dated July 26, 
belongs to the same period and refers to the composition of the 
Mass in C : 

Most Serene, most Gracious Prince! 

Having been told that you, my Prince, have asked concerning the 
mass which you commissioned me to write for you, I take the liberty, 
my Serene Prince, to inform you that you shall receive the same at the 
latest by the 20th of the month of August — which will leave plenty of 
time to have it performed on the name-day of her Serene Highness, the 
Princess — an extraordinarily favorable offer which I received from Lon- 
don when I had the misfortune to make a failure of my benefit at the 
theatre, which made me grasp the need with joy, retarded the com- 
pletion of the mass, much as I wished. Serene Prince, to appear with it 
before you, and to this was added an illness of the head, which at first 
permitted me to work not at all and now but little; since everything is 
so eagerly interpreted against me, I inclose a letter from my physician — • 
may I add that I shall give the mass into your hands with great fear 
since you, Serene Highness, are accustomed to have the inimitable 
masterpieces of the great Haydn performed for you. 

At the end of July, Beethoven removed from Baden to 
Heiligenstadt, devoting his time there to the C minor Symphony 
and the Mass in C. One of Czerny's notes relates to the mass: 

Once when he (Beethoven) was walking in the country with the 
Countess Erdody and other ladies, they heard some village musicians and 
laughed at some false notes which they played, especially the violon- 
cellist, who, fumbling for the C major chord, produced something like 
the following : 


Beethoven used this figure for the "Credo" of his first mass, which he 
chanced to be composing at the time. 

iThe Editor of the English edition feels it to be his duty to permit Thayer to 
reiterate his argument in favor of the year 1807, as that in which the love-letter was 
written, notwithstanding Dr. Riemann's curt rejection of it in the German edition. 
The question is still an open one. 

108 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The name-day of Princess Esterhazy, nee Princess Marie von 
Liechtenstein, for which Beethoven promises in the letter above 
given to have the Mass ready, was the 8th of September. In the 
years when this date did not fall upon a Sunday it was the custom 
at Eisenstadt to celebrate it on the first Sunday following. In 
1807 the 8th fell on a Tuesday and the first performance of Beet- 
hoven's Mass, therefore, took place on the 13th. Haydn, as 
Pohl informs us, had written his masses for this day and had gone 
to Eisenstadt from Vienna to conduct their performance. So 
Beethoven now; who seems to have had his troubles with the 
singers here as in Vienna, if one may found such an opinion upon 
an energetic note of Prince Esterhazy copied and printed by 
Pohl. In this note, which is dated September 1''2, 1807, the Prince 
calls upon his vice-chapelmaster, Johann Fuchs, to explain why 
the singers in his employ were not always on hand at his musical 
affairs. He had heard on that day with displeasure that at the 
rehearsal of Beethoven's Mass only one of the five contraltos was 
present, and he stringently commanded all the singers and instru- 
mentalists in his service to be on hand at the performance of the 
mass on the following day. 

The Mass was produced on the next day — the 13th. "It was 
the custom at this court," says Schindler, 

that after the religious service the local as well as foreign musical 
notabilities met in the chambers of the Prince for the purpose of con- 
versing with him about the works which had been performed. When 
Beethoven entered the room, the Prince turned to him with the question: 
"But, my dear Beethoven, what is this that you have done again?" 
The impression made by this singular question, which was probably 
followed by other critical remarks, was the more painful on our artist 
because he saw the chapelmaster standing near the Prince laugh. Think- 
ing that he was being ridiculed, nothing could keep him at the place 
where his work had been so misunderstood and besides, as he thought, 
where a brother in art had rejoiced over his discomfiture. He left 
Eisenstadt the same day. 

The laughing chapelmaster was J. N. Hummel, who had been 
called to the post in 1804 in place of Haydn, recently pensioned 
because of his infirmities, due to old age. Schindler continues: 

Thence dates the falling-out with Hummel, between whom and 
Beethoven there never existed a real intimate fritnidship. Unfortunately 
they never came to an explanation which miglit have disclosed that the 
unlucky laugh was not directed at Beethoven, but at the singular manner 
in which the Prince had criticized the mass (in which there is still much 
that might be complained of). But there were other things which fed 
the hate of Beethoven. One of these was that the two had an inclina- 
tion for the same girl; the other, the tendency which Hummel had first 

Ill Feeling between Beethoven and Hummel 109 

introduced not only in pianoforte playing but also composition. . . . Not 
until the last days of Beethoven, post tot discrimina rerum, was the cloud 
which had settled between the two artists dispelled. 

In the earlier editions of his book, Schindler gives a still 
gloomier tinge to the story: 

His hatred of Hummel because of this (the laugh after the mass) 
was so deeply rooted that I know of no second one like it in his entire 
history. After the lapse of 14 years he told me the story with a bitter- 
ness as if it had happened the day before. But this dark cloud was dis- 
sipated by the strength of his spirit, and this would have happened much 
earlier had Hummel approached him in a friendly manner instead of 
always holding himself aloof. 

That Schindler heard Beethoven speak of the occurrence in 
Eisenstadt, fourteen years thereafter, with "great bitterness" is not 
to be doubted; but this does not prove the existence of so lasting 
and deep a hatred towards Hummel as is asserted. That he was 
dissatisfied with Hummel's later course as pianist and composer is 
most probable, and hardly needs Schindler's testimony; but it is 
not so with other statements of his; and facts have come to light 
since his book appeared (1840) which he could not well have 
known, but which leave little doubt that he was greatly mis- 
taken in his view of the relations between the two men. That 
something very like an "intimate friendship" had characterized 
their intercourse, the reader already knows; and that, three or four 
years later, they were again friendly, if not intimate, will in due time 
appear. As to the girl whom both loved, but who favored Hummel, 
if Schindler refers to the sister of Rbckel — afterwards the wife of 
Hummel — it is known from Rockel himself that there is nothing in 
the story. If, on the other hand, he had in mind a ludicrous anec- 
dote — not quite fit to be printed — the "wife of a citizen," who plays 
the third role in the comedy, was not of such a character as to cause 
any lasting ill blood between the rivals for her passing favor. 

In short, while we accept the Eisenstadt anecdote, as being 
originally derived from Beethoven himself, we must view all that 
Schindler adds in connection with it with a certain amount of 
distrust and doubt — if not reject it altogether — as a new illustra- 
tion of his proneness to accept without examination old impres- 
sions for established facts. 

This year is remarkable not only in Beethoven's life, but in 
the history of music, as that in which was completed the C minor 
Symphony. This wondrous work was no sudden inspiration. 
Themes for the Allegro, Andante and Scherzo are found in sketch- 
books belonging, at the very latest, to the years 1800 and 1801. 

110 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

There are studies also preserved, which show that Beethoven 
wrought upon it while engaged on "Fidelio" and the Pianoforte 
Concerto in G — that is, in 1804-6, when, as before noted, he laid it 
aside for the composition of the fourth, in B-flat major. That is 
all that is known of the rise and progress of this famous symphony, 
except that it was completed this year in the composer's favorite 
haunts about Heiligenstadt. ^ 

In the "Journal des Luxus" of January, 1808, there appeared 
a letter in which it was stated that "Beethoven's opera 'Fidelio,' 
which despite all contradictory reports has extraordinary beauties, 
is to be performed in Prague in the near future with a new over- 
ture." The composer was also said to have "already begun a 
second mass." Of this mass we hear nothing more, but there 
was a foundation of fact in the other item of news. Guardasoni 
had for some time kept alive the Italian opera in Prague, only 
because his contract required it. It had sunk so low in the esteem 
of the public, that performances were actually given to audiences 
of less than twenty persons in the parterre — the boxes and gal- 
leries being empty in proportion. That manager died early in 
1806, and the Bohemian States immediately raised Carl Liebich 
from his position of stage-manager of the German drama to that 
of General Director, with instructions to dismiss the Italian and 
engage a German operatic company. Such a change required 
time; and not until April 24th, 1807, did the Italians make their 
last appearance, selecting for the occasion Mozart's *'Clemenza 
di Tito" — originally composed for that stage. On the 2d of May 
the new German opera opened with Cherubini's "Faniska." 

Beethoven, in view of his relations to the Bohemian nobles, 
naturally expected, and seems to have had the promise, that his 
"Fidelio" should be brought out there as well as its rival, and, as 
Seyfried expresses it, "planned a new and less difficult overture 
for the Prague theatre." This was the composition published in 
1832 with the title: "Overture in C, composed in the year 1805, 
for the opera 'Leonore' by Ludwig van Beethoven" — an erroneous 

•Nottebohm concludes from a study of the sketches that the Symphony in C 
minor was completed in March, 1808, and the "Pastoral" Symphony later, though the 
two were sketched during the same period, in part, and there is a remote possibility that 
the latter, which was written down with unusual speed, was finished as soon as the former. 
In support of this theory is the circumstance that at the concert on December ii, 1808, 
at which both were produced, the "Pastoral" was numbered 5 and the C minor 6. 
Both symphonies were offered to Breitkopf and Hartel in June, 1808, and bought by the 
firm in September. In the letter offering them Beethoven observed the present num- 
bering. .\ stipulation in the letter that the symphonies should not be published until 
six months after June 1, suggests the probability that the right to perform them in 
private had been sold to Prince Lobkowitz and Count Rasoumowsky, to whom in 
common the works are dedicated. 

"In Questa Tomba Oscura" 111 

date, which continued current and unchallenged for nearly forty 
years. Schindler's story — that it was tried at Prince Lichnowsky's 
and laid aside as inadequate to the subject — was therefore based 
on misinformation; but that it was played either at Lichnowsky's 
or Lobkowitz's is very probable, and, if so, it may well have made 
but a tame and feeble impression on auditors who had heard the 
glorious "Leonore" Overture the year before. A tragical and 
lamentable consequence of establishing the true date of Op. 138 — 
of the discovery that the supposed No. I is really No. Ill of the 
"Leonore-Fidelio" overtures — is this; that so much eloquent 
dissertation on the astonishing development of Beethoven's powers 
as exhibited in his progress from No. I to No. Ill, has lost its basis, 
and all the fine writing on this topic is, at a blow, made ridiculous 
and absurd! As to the performance of "Fidelio" at Prague, Beet- 
hoven was disappointed. It was not given. Another paragraph 
from the "Journal des Luxus, etc." (November, 1806) gives the only 
satisfactory notice, known to us, of the origin of one of Beethoven's 
minor but well-known compositions. 

A bit of musical pleasantry (says the journal last mentioned) 
recently gave rise to a competition amongst a number of famous com- 
posers. Countess Rzewuska^ improvised an aria at the pianoforte; the 
poet Carpani at once improvised a text for it. He imagined a lover 
who had died of grief because of the indifference of his ladylove; she, 
repenting of her hard-heartedness, bedews the grave; and now the shade 
calls to her: 

In questa tomba oscura 

Lasciami riposar; 
Quando viveva, ingrata, 
Dovevi a me pensar. 

Lascia che I'ombra ignude 

Godansi pace almen, 
E non bagnar mie ceneri 

D'inutile velen. 

These words have been set by Paer, Salieri, Weigl, Zingarelli, CherubinI, 
Asioli and other great masters and amateurs. Zingarelli alone provided 
ten compositions of them; in all about fifty have been collected and the 
poet purposes to give them to the public in a volume. 

The number of the compositions was increased to sixty-three, 
and they were published in 1808, the last (No. 63) being by Beet- 
hoven. This was by no means considered the best at the time, 
although it alone now survives. 

Though disappointed in December, as he had been in March, 
in the hope of obtaining the use of a theatre for a concert, 

^Query: The same whom in 1812 Count Ferd. Waldstein married? 

112 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Beethoven was not thereby prevented from coming prominently 
before the public as composer and director. It was on this wise: 
The want of better opportunities to hear good symphony music 
well performed, than Schuppanzigh's Concerts — which were 
also confined to the summer months — and the occasional hastily 
arranged "Academies" of composers and virtuosos, afforded, 
induced a number of music-lovers early in the winter to form an 
institute under the modest title: "Concert of Music-Lovers" 
{Liebhaber-Concert). Says the "Wiener Vaterlandische Blatter" of 
May 27, 1808: "An orchestra was organized, whose members 
were chosen from the best of the local music-lovers (dilettanti). 
A few wind-instruments only — French horns, trumpets, etc., were 
drafted from the Vienna theatres. . . . The audiences were com- 
posed exclusively of the nobility of the town and foreigners of note, 
and among these classes the preference was given to the cogno- 
scenti and amateurs." The hall "zur Mehlgrube," which was 
first engaged, proved to be too small, and the concerts were trans- 
ferred to the hall of the University, where "in twenty meetings 
symphonies, overtures, concertos and vocal, pieces were performed 
zealously and affectionately and received with general approval." 
"Banker Hiiring was a director in the earlier concerts but gave way 
to Clement 'because of disagreements.' " The works of Beethoven 
reported as having been performed in these concerts, are the Sym- 
phony in D (in the first concert), the overture to "Prometheus" 
in November, the "Eroica" Symphony and "Coriolan" Overture in 
December, and about New Year the Fourth Symphony in B-flat, 
which also on the 15th of November had been played in the Burg- 
theater at a concert for the public charities. Most, if not all of these 
works were directed by their composer. The works ascertained as 
belonging to this year are: (1) The transcription of the Violin Con- 
certo for Pianoforte, made (as dementi's letter to CoUard says) 
at dementi's request; (2) the overture to "Coriolan"; (3) the 
Mass in C;^ (4) the so-called "Leonore" Overture, No. I, published 

'On June 8, 180S, Beethoven offered the Mass in C to Breitkopf and Hiirtel, along 
with the fifth and sixth symphonies and the sonata for pianoforte and violoncello. Op. 
69, for 900 florins. He wrote: "I do not like to say anything about my mass or myself, 
but I believe I have treated the text as it has seldom been treated." The answer of 
Breitkopf and Hiirtel is not of record, but to the offer which it contained, Beethoven 
replied on .July 10 with a httcr in which he offered the mass, two symphonies, the sonata 
for 'cello and two other pianoforte sonatas (or in place of these, "probably" another 
symphony) for 700 florins. Then he says: "You see that I give more and take less — 
but that is the limit; you take the mass, or I cannot gire you the other works — for I 
am considering honor and not profit merely. 'There is no demand for church music,' 
you say, and you are right, if the music comes from mere thorough-bassists, but if you 
will only have the mass performed once you will see if there will not be music-lovers who 
will want it. . . . I will guarantee its success in any event." In a third letter, without 
date, which throws light on the well-nigh insuperable difficulties experienced by a famous 

The Publications of the Year 1807 113 

as Op. 138; (5) the Symphony in C minor; (6) the Arietta, "In 
questa tomba." The original publications of the year were few, 
viz., (1) "LIV^ Sonata" for Pianoforte, Op. 57, dedicated to Count 
Brunswick, advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" of February 18, 
by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir; (2) Thirty-two Variations 
in C minor, advertised by the same firm on April 29; (3) Concerto 
concertant for Pianoforte, Violin and Violoncello, Op. 56, dedi- 
cated to Prince Lobkowitz, advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" 
on July 1. 

The following advertisements are evidence of the great and 
increasing popularity of Beethoven's name: On March 21, Traeg 
announces 12 Ecossaises and 12 Waltzes for two violins and bass 
(2 flutes, 2 horns ad lib.); also for pianoforte; other works are 
being arranged; on April 20, the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir 
announces an arrangement of the "Eroica" Symphony for piano- 
forte, violin, viola and violoncello; on May 27 (Artaria), a Sonata 
for Pianoforte and Violoncello, Op. 64, transcribed from Op. 3; 
on June 13 (Traeg), the Symphony in D major arranged by Ries 
as a Quintet with double-bass, flute, 2 horns ad lib.; on September 12 
(the Chemical Printing Works), a Polonaise, Op. 8, for two violins 
and for violin and guitar. 

composer a century or so ago in securing the publication of a large ecclesiastical work, 
Beethoven says: "To the repeated proposal made by you through Wagener, I reply that 
I am ready to relieve you of everything concerning the mass — / make you a present of it, 
you need not pay even the cost of copying, firmly convinced that if you once have it per- 
formed in your winter concerts at Leipsic you will surely provide it with a German text 
and publish it. . . . The reason for my having wished to bind you to publish this mass 
is in the first place and chiefly because it is dear to my heart and in spite of the coldness of 
our age to such works." A later letter (of date April 5, 1809) to Breitkopf and Hartel 
shows that the gift of the mass was not accepted. Beethoven changed its dedication 
several times. On October 5, 1810, he wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel that it was 
dedicated to Zmeskall; on October 9, 1811, he gives notice that a change in the dedication 
would have to be made because "the woman is now married and the name must be 
changed; let the matter rest, therefore, write to me when you will publish it and then the 
work's saint will doubtless be found." Eventually the "saint" proved to be Prince 

Chapter VII 

The Year 1808 — Beethoven's Brother Johann — Plans for New 
Operas — The "Pastoral Symphony" and "Choral Fan- 
tasia" — A Call to Cassel — ^Appreciation in Vienna. 

f I ^HE history of the year 1808 must be preceded by the follow- 
ing letter to Gleichenstein: 



Dear good Gleichenstein: 

Please be so kind as to give this to the copyist to-morrow — it con- 
cerns the symphony as you see — in case he is not through with the quartet 
to-morrow, take it away and deliver it at the Industriecomptoir. . . . You 
may say to my brother that I shall certainly not write to him again. I 
know the cause, it is this, because he has lent me money and spent some 
on my account he is already concerned, I know my brothers, since I can- 
not yet pay it back to him, and the other probably who is filled with the 
spirit of revenge against me and him too — it were best if I were to col- 
lect the whole 1500 florins (from the Industriecomptoir) and pay him 
with it, then the matter will be at an end — heaven forefend that I should 
be obliged to receive benefactions from my brothers. ^ 


Of all the known letters of Beethoven, perhaps no one is so 
much to be regretted as this, written near the end of 1807, just 
when the contracts with the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir, and 
Simrock — he had received nothing as yet on the Clementi contract 
— made his pecuniary resources abundant, doubtless increased by 
a handsome honorarium out of the receipts of the Liebhaber Con- 
certs. True, the letter was intended for Gleichenstein's eye alone; 
still it is sad to know that even in a moment of spleen or anger 
and in the privacy of intimate friendship, the great master could 

'This letter was doubtless followed by a billet to Gleichenstein reading as follows: 
"I think — you would better have them pay you 60 florins more than the 1500 or, if you 
think that it would be consistent with my honesty — the sum of 1000 — I leave this wholly 
to you, however, only honesty and justice must be the polestar which is to guide you." 
The transaction to which the letter and note refer must have been the sale of the com- 
positions, the British rights for which had been sold to Clementi. The quartet was 
probably one of the Rasoumowsky set and the symphony that in H-flat, since the fifth 
and sixth were not published by the Viennese Bureau but by Breitkopf and Iliirtel. 


Sl-\nders against Johann van Beethoven 115 

so far forget his own dignity, and write thus abusively of his 
brother Johann, whose claim was just and whose future career 
was dependent upon its payment at this time. 

The case, in few words, was this:— Eleonore Ordley, sole heir 
of her sister, Theresia Tiller, was, in the autumn of 1807, seeking a 
purchaser for the house and "registered apothecary shop" which, 
until 1872, still existed directly between the market-place and the 
bridge at Linz on the Danube, and was willing to dispose of them 
on such terms of payment, as to render it possible even for Johann 
van Beethoven with his slender means to become their owner. 
"I know my brothers," writes Beethoven. His brothers also knew 
him; and Johann had every reason to fear that if he did not secure 
his debt now when his brother's means were abundant, he might at 
the crisis of his negotiation find himself penniless. His demand 
w^as too just to be resisted and Gleichenstein evidently drew the 
money from the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir and paid it; for on 
the 13th of March, 1808, the contract of sale was signed at Vienna. 
By the terms of the contract which fixed the price at 25,000 florins, 
the vendee agreed to assume incumbrances on the property 
amounting to 12,600 florins, pay 10,400 florins in cash and 5% 
interest on 2,000 florins to the vendor during her life, and to be in 
Linz and take possession of the property on or before March 20, 
i.e., within a week after the signing of the contract. 

The expenses incurred in the negotiations, in his journey to 
Linz, and in taking possession, left the indigent purchaser barely 
funds sufficient to make his first payment and ratify the contract; 
in fact, he had only 300 florins left. The profits of his shop and the 
rents of his house were so small, that Johann was almost at his 
wit's end how to meet his next engagements. He sold the iron 
gratings of the w^indows — but they produced too little to carry him 
through. It was a comical piece of good luck for him that the jars 
and pots upon his shelves were of pure, solid English tin — a metal 
which Napoleon's non-intercourse decrees fulminated against 
England had just then raised enormously in price. The cunning 
apothecary sold his tin, furnished his shop with earthenware, and 
met his payments with the profits of the transaction. But it is 
an ill wind that blows nobody any good; the reverses of the 
Austrian arms in April, 1809, opened the road for the French 
armies to Linz, and gave Apothecary Beethoven an opportunity 
to make large contracts for the supply of medicines to the 
enemy's commissariat, which not only relieved him in his present 
necessities but laid the foundation for his subsequent moderate 

IIG The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

This concise record of facts effectually disposes of the current 
errors, which are, first: that about 1802-3 Beethoven established 
his brother in Linz as apothecary, advancing to him the necessary 
capital; second: that, through his personal influence, he obtained 
for Johann profitable contracts with the Austrian Commissariat 
for medicines — which contracts were the basis of his subsequent 
prosperity; third: that consequently, in obtaining monies from his 
brother, Beethoven was only sharing in the profits on capital 
furnished by himself; and, fourth: that hence, Johann's urgent 
request for payment in 1807 was an exhibition of vile selfishness 
and base ingratitude! All this is the exact reverse of the truth. 

No other performances of Beethoven's works at the Liebhaber 
Concerts, than those before enumerated, are reported; perhaps 
none were given, for reasons indicated in a letter from Stephan 
von Breuning to Wegeler, written in March, 1808: "Beethoven 
came near losing a finger by a Panaritium [felon], but he is 
again in good health. He escaped a great misfortune, which, 
added to his deafness, would have completely ruined his good 
humor, which, as it is, is of rare occurrence." 

The series of concerts closed with the famous one of March 
27th, at which in honor of Haydn, whose 76th birthday fell on the 
31st, his "Creation" with Carpani's Italian text was given. It is 
pleasant to know that Beethoven was one of those who, "with 
members of the high nobility," stood at the door of the hall of the 
university to receive the venerable guest on his arrival there in 
Prince Esterhazy's coach, and who accompanied him as "sitting 
in an armchair he was carried, lifted high, and on his entrance into 
the hall was received with the sound of trumpets and drums by the 
numerous gathering and greeted with joyous shouts of 'Long 
live Havdn!'" 

Some pains have been taken in other chapters to show that 
the want of taste and appreciation so often alleged for the works 
of Beethoven at Vienna is a mistake. On the contrary, generally 
in the concerts of those years, whenever an orchestra equal to the 
task was engaged, few as his published orchestral compositions 
then were, they are as often to be found on the programmes as 
those of Mozart or even Haydn; none were more likely to fill the 
house. Thus, immediately after the close of the Liebhaber 
Concerts, Sebastian Meier's annual benefit in the Theater-an-der- 
Wien opened with the "Sinfonia Eroica." This was on IMonday 
evening, April 11. Two days after (13th) the Charity Institute's 
Concert in the Burg Theatre offered a programme of six numbers; 
No. 1 was Beethoven's Fourth Symphony in B-flat; No. 5, one of 

Rust's Meetings with the Composer 117 

his Pianoforte Concertos, played bj^ Friedrich Stein; and No. 6, 
the "Coriohm" Overture — all directed by the composer; and, at a 
benefit concert in May, in the Au^artensaal, occurred the first 
known public performance of the Triple Concerto, Op. 56. 

The once famous musical wonder-child, Wilhelm Rust, of 
Dessau, at the time a young man of some twenty-two years, had 
come to Vienna in 1807, and was now supporting himself by giving 
"children instructions in reading and elementary natural science." 
In a letter to his "best sister, Jette." dated Haking (a village 
near Vienna), July 9, 1808, he wrote of Beethoven. 

You want much to hear sometliing about Beethoven; unfortunately 
I must say first of all that it has not been possil)le for me to get inti- 
nuitely acquainted with him. What else I know I will tell you now: 
He is as original and singular as a man as are his compositions. On the 
other hand he is also very childlike and certainly very sincere. He is a 
creat lover of truth and in this goes too far very often; for he never 
Halters and therefore makes many enemies. A good fellow played for 
him, and when he was finished Beethoven said to him: "You will have to 
j)lay a long time before you will realize that you can do nothing." I do 
not know whether you heard that I also played for him. He praised my 
playing, particularly in the Bach fugue, and said: "You play that well," 
which is much for him. Still he could not omit calling my attention to 
two mistakes. In a Scherzo I had not played the notes crisply enough 
and at another time I had struck one note twice instead of binding it. 
He must be unable to endure the French; for once when Prince 
Lichnowsky had some French guests, he asked Beethoven, who was also 
with him, to play for them as they had requested; but he refused and 
said he would not play for Frenchmen. In consequence he and Lich- 
nowsky had a falling out.^ 

Once I met him at a restaurant where he sat with a few acquain- 
tances, lie berated Vienna soundly and the decay of its nnisic. In 
this he is certainly right, and I was glad to hear his judgment, wiiich con- 
firmed mine. Last winter I frequently attended the Liebhaber Concerts, 
the first of which under Beethoven's direction were very beautiful; but 
after he retired they became so poor that there was not one in which 
something was not bungletl. . . . 

It is very possible that Beethoven will leave Vienna; at any rate he 
has frequently sj)oken of doing so and said: "They are forcing me to it." 
lie also asked me once how the orchestras were in the North. You 
wanted to know if any new sonatas by him have been puV)lished. His 
last works were symphonies and he is now writing an opera, which is the 
reason why I caiuiot go to him any more. Last year he composed a 
})Iece which I have not heard and an overture "Coriolan" which is ex- 
trat)rdinarily beautiful. Perhaps you have had an opportunity to hear 
it in Berlin. The theme and variations in C minor which you refer to 
I also have; it is very beautiful, etc. 

'Alois Furhs rolatod that whon IV-cth<>von hoard from Krumpholz of Napoleon's 
victory at Joaa be exclaimeil: "I'ity that 1 do not understand the art of war as well as I 
do the art of music; I would conquer him yet!" 

118 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In December Rust, writing to his brother Carl, was obliged to 
correct what he had said about Beethoven's new opera; "All new 
products which have appeared here are more or less mediocre 
except those of Beethoven, I think I have written you that he 
has not yet begun his new opera. I have not yet heard his first 
opera; it has not been performed since I have been here." These 
last sentences of Rust remind us of the once current notion that 
disgust and disappointment at the (assumed) failure of "Fidelio" 
prevented Beethoven from ever undertaking the composition of 
another opera. The error was long since exploded, and, indeed, 
amply refuted by his proposition to the "princely theatre rabble" 
for a permanent engagement. It is now universally known how 
earnestly Beethoven all his life long sought a satisfactory text 
for an opera or an oratorio; his friends always knew it; and his 
essays in vocal composition had, in spite of the critics, so favor- 
ably impressed them and the dramatic writers of the day, that 
all were eager to serve him. 

Thus Schindler writes to Gleichenstein from Gratz, on March 
19, 1807: "Speak at once to our friend Beethoven and particu- 
larly with the worthy Breuning, and learn if Beethoven has a mind 
to set a comic opera to music. I have read it, and found it varied 
in situation, beautiful in diction." Nothing came of this. 

A somewhat more promising offer came from another quarter, 
but also without result. The celebrated Orientalist, Hammer- 
Purgstall, had just returned from the East to Vienna. Although 
but thirty-three years of age, he was already famous, and his 
translations and other writings were the talk of the day. An 
autograph note by Beethoven without address or date, preserved 
in the Fetter Collection, was evidently written to him: 

Almost put to shame by your courtesy and kindness in communi- 
cating your still unknown literary treasures in manuscript, I thank j'ou 
heartily while returning the opera texts; overwhelmed in my artistic 
calling it is impossible for me just now to go into details about the Indian 
opera particularly, as soon as time permits I shall visit you in order to 
discuss this subject as well as the oratorio, "The Deluge," with you. 

No oratorio on the subject of the deluge appears in the cata- 
logue of Hammer-Purgstall's works. ^ 

'Nevertheless a letter, of which a copy was placed in the hands of Thayer at a later 
date, indicates that an oratorio "Die Sundfluth" was written by Hammcr-Purgstall, 
and also that the correspondence between Beethoven and the Orientalist took place in 
1809. It is dated "Ash Wednesday," the year not being mentioned, but refers to the 
departure of the Persian Ambassador and the fact that H. Schick had acquainted the 
writer with Beethoven's desire to have an Indian chorus of a religious character for 

An Operatic "Macbeth" in Contemplation 119 

The new directors of the theatres began their operatic per- 
formances at the Karnthnerthor January 1 and 2, and at the Burg 
January 4, 1807, with Gluck's "Iphigenia in Tauris." It was new 
to Collin and awakened in his mind new ideas of the ancient 
tragedy, which he determined to embody in a text for a musical 
drama in oratorio form. According to his biographer, Laban, he 
projected one on the Liberation of Jerusalem, to offer to Beethoven 
for setting; but it was never finished. Another essay in the 
field of musical drama was a "Macbeth," after Shakespeare, also 
left unfinished in the middle of the second act, "because it threat- 
ened to become too gloomy," He carried to completion a grand 
opera libretto, "Bradamante," for which he had an unusual pre- 
dilection. It also was offered to Beethoven, but "seemed too 
venturesome" to him in respect of its use of the supernatural; there 
were probably other reasons why it did not appeal to him. "And 
so it happened that although at a later period Beethoven wanted to 
undertake its composition, Collin gave the book to Reichardt, who 
set it to music during his sojourn in Vienna in 1808." 

A writer in Cotta's "Morgenblatt" remarks: "The clever 
Beethoven has a notion to compose Goethe's 'Faust' as soon as he 
has found somebody who will adapt it for the stage for him," 
Nottebohm ("Zweite Beethoveniana," p. 225 et seq.) says that the 
first act of Collin's "Macbeth" was printed in 1809 and must have 
been written in 1808 at the latest. He also prints a sketch showing 
that Beethoven had begun its composition. The "Macbeth" 
project therefore preceded the negotiations about "Bradamante." 
Collin's opera begins, like Shakespeare's, with the witches' scene, 
and the sketch referred to is preceded by the directions: "Over- 
ture Macbeth falls immediately into the chorus of witches."^ 

The consequence of Beethoven's fastidiousness and indecision 
was that on removing again to Heiligenstadt for the summer, he 
had no text for a vocal composition and devoted his time and 
energies to an instrumental composition — the "Sinfonia Pastorale." 

Those who think programme music for the orchestra is a 
recent invention, and they who suppose the "Pastoral" Symphony 
to be an original attempt to portray nature in music, are alike mis- 
taken. It was never so much the ambition of Beethoven to in- 
vent new forms of musical works, as to surpass his contempo- 
raries in the use of those already existing. There were few great 

^Rockel in his letter to Thayer says: "That Beethoven did not abandon the idea 
of composing another opera was shown by the impatience with which he could scarcely 
wait for his friend Collin to make an opera book for him of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth.' 
At Beethoven's request, I read the first act and found that it followed the great original 
closely; unfortunately Collin's death prevented the completion of the work." 

120 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

battles in those stormy years, that were not fought over again by 
orchestras, military bands, organs and pianofortes; and pages 
might be filled with a catalogue of programme music, long since 
dead, buried and forgotten. 

A remark of Ries, confirmed by other testimony, as well as by 
the form and substance of many of his master's works, if already 
quoted, will bear repetition: "Beethoven in composing his pieces 
often thought of a particular thing, although he frequently laughed 
at musical paintings and scolded particularly about trivialities of 
this sort. Haydn's 'Creation' and 'The Seasons' were frequently 
ridiculed, though Beethoven never failed to recognize Haydn's 
high deserts," etc. But Beethoven himself did not disdain occa- 
sionally to introduce imitations into his works. The difference 
between him and others in this regard was this: they undertook 
to give musical imitations of things essentially unmusical — he 

On a bright, sunny day in April, 1823, Beethoven took 
Schindler for a long ramble through the scenes in which he had 
composed his Fifth and Sixth symphonies. Schindler writes: 

After we had looked at the bath-house and its adjacent garden at 
Heiligenstadt and he had given expression to many agreeable recollections 
touching his creations, we continued our walk towards the Kahlenberg 
in the direction past Grinzing [?]. Passing through the pleasant 
meadow- valley between Heiligenstadt and the latter village, ' which is 
traversed by a gently murmuring brook which hurries down from a 
near-by mountain and is bordered with high elms, Beethoven repeatedly 
stopped and let his glances roam, full of happiness, over the glorious 
landscape. Then seating himself on the turf and leaning against an elm, 
Beethoven asked me if there were any yellowhammers to be heard in the 
trees around us. But all was still. He then said: "Here I composed the 
'Scene by the Brook' and the yellowhammers up there, the quails, night- 
ingales and cuckoos round about, composed with me." To my question 
why he had not also put the yellowhammers into the scene, he drew out 
his sketchbook and wrote: 

"That's the composer up there," he remarked, "hasn't she a more im- 
portant role to play than the others? They are meant only for a joke." 

^Schindler here is mistaken. The "walk toward the Kahlenberg" took them 
northerly into the valley between Hciligpnstadt and Nussdorf, whf-re an excessively 
idealized bust of the composer now marks the "Scene by llie Brook." After thirty 
years of absence from \'ienna, Schindler's memory harl lost the exact topography of 
these scenes; and a friend to whom he wrote for information upon it mistook thi- (»rin- 
zing brook and valley for the true ones. This ex[)lanation of his error was made by 
Schindler to the present writer very soon after the third edition of his (Schindler's) book 

Jokes in the "Pastoral Symphony" 121 

And really the entrance of this figure in G major gives the tone-picture 
a new charm. Speaking now of the whole work and its parts, Beethoven 
said that the melody of this variation from the species of the yellow- 
hammers was pretty plainly imitated in the scale written down in 
Andante rhythm and the same pitch, i As a reason for not having 
mentioned this fellow-composer he said that had he printed the name it 
would only have served to increase the number of ill-natured interpre- 
tations of the movement which has made the introduction of the work 
difficult not only in Vienna but also in other places. Not infrequently 
the symphony, because of its second mo\'ement, had been declared to be 
child's play. In some places it shared the fate of the "Eroica." 

Equally interesting, valuable and grateful is Schindler's ac- 
count of the origin of Beethoven's "Merrymaking of the Country- 
folk" in this symphony. Somewhat curtailed it is this: 

There are facts to tell us of how particular was the interest which 
Beethoven took in Austrian dance-music. Until his arrival in Vienna 
(1792), according to his own statement, he had not become acquainted with 
any folkmusic except that of the mountains, with its strange and peculiar 
rhythms. How much attention he afterwards bestowed on dance-music 
is proved by the catalogue of his works. He even made essays in Aus- 
trian dance-music, but the players refused to grant Austrian citizen- 
ship to these efforts. The last effort dates from 1819 and, strangely 
enough, falls in the middle of his work on the "Missa Solemnis." In the 
tavern "To the Three Ravens" in the vordern Brilhl near Modling there 
had played a band of seven men. This band was one of the first that 
gave the young musician from the Rhine an opportunity to hear the 
national tunes of his new home in an unadulterated form. Beethoven 
made the acquaintance of the musicians and composed several sets of 
Ldndler and other dances for them. In the year mentioned (1819), he 
had again complied with the wishes of the band. I was present when 
the new opus was handed to the leader of the company. The master in 
high good humor remarked that he had so arranged the dances that one 
musician after the other might put down his instrument at intervals and 
take a rest, or even a nap. After the leader had gone away full of joy 
because of the present of the famous composer, Beethoven asked me if I 
had not observed how village musicians often played in their sleep, 
occasionally letting their instruments fall and remaining entirely quiet, 
then awaking with a start, throwing in a few vigorous blows or strokes 
at a venture, but generally in the right key, and then falling asleep again; 
he had tried to copy these poor people in his "Pastoral" symphony. 
Now, reader, take up the score and see the arrangement on pages 106, 
107, 108 and 109. Note the stereotyped accompaniment figure of the 
two violins on page 105 and the following; note the sleep-drunken second 

i"But the note of the yellowhammer, both in England and in Austria, is not an 
arpeggio — cannot in any way be twisted into one, or represented by one. It is a quick 
succession of the same note, ending with a longer one, sometimes rising above the pre- 
ceding note, but more frequently falling. In fact, Schindler himself tells us that it was 
the origin of the mighty theme which opened the C minor Symphony!" — Grove, "Beet- 
hoven and His Nine Symphonies," p. 211. 

122 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

bassoon 1 with his repetition of a few tones, while contra -bass, violon- 
cello and viola keep quiet; on page 108 we see the viola wake up and ap- 
parently awaken the violoncello — and the second horn also sounds three 
notes, but at once sinks into silence again. At length contra-bass and 
the two bassoons gather themselves together for a new eflFort and the 
clarinet has time to take a rest. Moreover, the Allegro in 2-4 time on 
page 110 is based in form and character on the old-time Austrian dances. 
There were dances in which 3-4 time gave way suddenly to 2-4. As 
late as the third decade of the nineteenth century I myself saw such 
dances executed in forest villages only a few hours distant from the 
metropolis — Laab, Kaltenleutgeben and Gaden. 

The subject of Beethoven's imitations, even in play, are there- 
fore musical, not incongruous; and in his "Portrait musical de la 
Nature" are so suggestive as to aid and intensify the "expression of 
feelings," which was his professed aim. 

Beethoven wrote to Count Oppersdorff on November 1: 

You will view me in a false light, but necessity compelled me to 
sell the symphony which was written for you and also another to some- 
one else — but be assured that you shall soon receive the one intended for 
you soon. ... I live right under Prince Lichnowsky, in case you ever 
make me a visit in Vienna, at Countess Erdody's. My circumstances 
are improving — without the help of persons ivho wish to treat their friends 
with a threshing. I have also been called to be Chapelmaster to the King 
of Westphalia, and it is easily possible that I shall accept the call. 

Such an apology for not having dedicated the promised Sym- 
phony to Oppersdorff, and the promise soon to supply its place 
with another, are ample testimony that the relations between the 
composer and that nobleman were of a character well w'orth the 
trouble of investigation by any one who has the opportunity to 
make it. Whatever information can be obtained upon this matter 
will be new.2 

'Carl Holz related a story to Jahn, which he may very well have heard from 
Beethoven himself. Jahn's memorandum of it is in the following words: "Scherzo of 
the Pastorale. In Heiligenstadt a drunken bassoonist thrown out of the tavern, who 
then blows the bass notes." 

^Some of the information for which Thayer hoped was supplied by his translator. 
Dr. Deiters, and has been printed as a foot-note in the preceding chapter. Something 
more appears from several documents which have come to light since Mr. Thayer wrote, 
but, it must be confessed, it seems more bewildering than illuminative. One of these 
is a letter which was published in the "Signale" of Leipsic in September, 1880. It is 
without date, but an allusion to the felon with which Beethoven was afflicted fixes 
the time of its writing about March, 1808. The significant part of the letter is as follows: 
"To-day I have little time to write more to you, I only want to inform you that your sym- 
phony has long been ready and I will send it to you by the next post — you may retain 50 
florins, for the copying, which I will have done for you, will cost that sum at least — in 
case you do not want the symphony, however, let me know the fact before the next post 
— in case you accept it, rejoice me as soon as possible with the 300 florins still due me — 
The last piece in the symphony is with 3 trombones and flautino — not with 3 kettle- 
drums, but will make more noise than 6 kettledrums and, indeed, better noise — I am 
still under treatment for my poor innocent finger and because of it have not been able to 

Count Oppersdorff and the Fourth Symphony 123 

The allusion in the above letter to Lichnowsky's lodging 
renders it certain that the Prince had made no recent change. 
Now Carl Czerny writes to Ferdinand Luib (May 28, 1852): 
"About 1804, he (Beethoven) already lived on the Molkerbastei 
in the vicinity of Prince Lichnowsky, who lived in the house (now 
demolished) over the Schottenthor. In the years 1806-7-8-9, he 
certainly lived on the Molkerbastei with Pasqualati, and, as I 
believe, for a time hard by. It is thus ascertained, that, on 
returning from Heiligenstadt at the close of the summer, 1808, 
Beethoven left the rooms which he had now occupied for four years, 
for others in the "house (now demolished) over the Schottenthor." 
In his words: "persons who wish to treat their friends with a 

go out for a fortnight — farewell — let me hear something from you soon, dear Count — it 
goes ill with me." The document which Dr. Riemann says "obviously" accompanied 
this letter (though we cannot see why) runs as follows: "Receipt for 500 florins from 
Count Oppersdorff for a Sinfonie which I have written for him." This is dated "1807 
on the 3rd of February." There is another receipt for 150 florins dated March 29, 1808, 
but nothing to show what the money was paid for except a memorandum accompanying 
it which seems to be partly in the handwriting of Beethoven, partly in that of Oppers- 
dorff, and states that 200 florins had been paid in June, 1807, for the "5 Sinfoni " 
(the numeral is vague), but that the symphony had not been received. The reference 
to the trombones in the finale of the symphony proves that it was the fifth that was in 

On November 1, 1808, Beethoven writes the letter printed above in the body of 
the text. Why Dr. Riemann should have thought it necessary to consider the first 
letter of contemporaneous date with the first receipt is not plain, nor why he should 
surmise that Beethoven had enclosed the receipt in the letter before he received the 
money which was not paid at the time. To this Editor it seems as if the confused 
tangle might be explained in part, at least, as follows, though the explanation leaves 
Beethoven under a suspicion which cannot be dispelled until more is learned of the 
dealings between him and Count Oppersdorff: On the occasion of Beethoven's visit to 
Count Oppersdorff in company with Lichnowsky in the summer or fall of 1806, the Count 
commissioned the composer to write a symphony for him; Beethoven had begun work 
on the Fifth Symphony, but laid it aside and during the remainder of his stay at 
Gratz and in the winter of 1807 wrote the Symphony in B-flat which is dedicated to 
Count Oppersdorff; for this he received 500 florins on February 3, 1807; he did not send 
the Count the score, as was the custom, for exclusive use during a fixed period, but turned 
it over to Lobkowitz for performance, being in urgent need of money; a year later he 
substituted the Fifth for the Fourth and accepted from Count Oppersdorff 150 florins 
in March and 200 in June for . it without delivering it, this sum being, it may be presumed, 
a bonus for the larger work, the Count apparently having asked for something employing 
an unusual apparatus (hence the "3 kettledrums"); this symphony was also withheld 
in the end, for reasons which are not known, and Oppersdorff had to content himself with 
the mere dedication of the Symphony in B-flat originally designed for him. 

Dr. Riemann's comment on the transactions is this: "The letter of November 1, 
1808, proves conclusively that Count Oppersdorff could not have received either the 
C minor or the B-flat Symphony for his use for the customary half year; for the B-flat 
Symphony was performed by Lobkowitz in March, 1807; it was sold to Clementi and also 
to thelndustriecomptoirin thesummer, delivered for publication at the latest in the fall of 
1807 when Beethoven had to return the 1500 florins to his brother Johann. The C 
minor Symphony was performed at the concert in the Theater-an-der-Wien on Decem- 
ber 22, 1808, offered to Breitkopf and Hiirtel as early as June, 1808, sold on September 14, 
1808, and published in April, 1809. To all appearances. Count Oppersdorff was com- 
pelled to look upon the 350 florins as remuneration for the mere dedication of the 
Symphony in B-flat which was published by the Industriecomptoir in March, 1808 (score 
not until 1821 by Simrock). The name of Count Oppersdorff does not appear again 
in the life-history of Beethoven." 

124 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

threshing," he doubtless refers to Lichnowsky. Now, it is hardly 
conceivable that he should have taken up his abode in the very 
house in part occupied by the Prince, unless at the time they had 
been, ostensibly at least, on amicable terms. It has been seen 
that the old quarrel of 1806 was so far made up, as to admit of the 
loan by the composer to Lichnowsky of the "Coriolan" overture 
in manuscript. There must have been, therefore, some new and 
very recent outbreak between them. But here again, doubtless 
through the good offices of the motherly Princess Christine, all 
difficulties between them were soon adjusted. 

The circumstance that the composer's new apartments were 
in the lodging of Count Peter Erdody strongly suggests the prob- 
ability that his great intimacj^ with the Countess dates from the 
time when he became her near neighbor upon his moving into 
the Pasqualati house four years before. 

The close of the letter to Oppersdorff contains the earliest 
discovered allusion to one of the most singular events in Beet- 
hoven's life. In the autumn of 1807, Jerome Bonaparte, the 
Corsican lawyer's youngest son, who had spent his boyhood and 
youth mostly at sea, and had not yet completed his 23d year, 
found himself at Cassel, bearing the pompous title of "King of 
Westphalia." What could have induced this half -educated, frivo- 
lous, prodigal and effeminate young satrap and sybarite to sanction 
an invitation to his court of the composer most distinguished since 
Handel for his masculine vigor and manly independence in his art, 
is one of those small mysteries which seem impenetrable. The 
precise time when, and by what agency this call was communicated 
to Beethoven are alike unknown; we only know that before the 
first of November, 1808, "Beethoven received the same through 
the High Chamberlain of the King of Westphalia, Count Truchsess- 
Waldburg, that it was to the office of first Chapelmaster" ; 
and that it led to events, which will be noticed hereafter. The 
lists of "Arrivals in Vienna" during this season contain the names 
of several old and new friends of Beethoven, the dates of whose 
arrival avail in some instances to correct certain current errors. 
The following seem worth copying: 

June 1, Joseph Linke, musician, from Breslau; June 23, Count von 
Brunswick, comes from Pressburg; July 2, Dominik Dragonetti, musician, 
from Venice [London], comes from Trieste; July 10, Alexander Macco, 
painter of Anspach, comes from Munich; July 11, Count Rasoumowsky, 
comes from Carlsbad; August 27, Herr Ferdinand Ries, musical com- 
poser of Bonn; Nov. 24, Joh. Fried. Reichardt, Chapelmaster of Hesse- 

Founding of the Rasoumowsky Quartet 125 

In the carefully considered "tlbersicht des gegenwartigen 
Zustandes der Tonkunst in Wien" of the "Vaterlandische Blatter" 
for May 27 and 31, 1808, it is noted that the violinists Anton 
Wranitzky and Herr Volta are "in the service of Prince Lobko- 
witz; Herr Schlesinger in that of the Graf Erdody; Herr Schmid- 
gen of Count Armade; Breimann of Esterhazy"; and the like of 
various performers on other instruments. But no such note 
follows the name of Schuppanzigh, "who is particularly dis- 
tinguished among quartet players and probably stands alone as 
a performer of Beethoven's compositions." Nor do the names 
of Weiss and Linke appear in the article. This of itself is per- 
haps enough to expose the mistake as to the time when the famous 
Rasoumowsky Quartet was founded, and to correct the erro- 
neous conclusions drawn from it. But the date of Linke's arrival 
in Vienna is proof positive. 

Rasoumowsky lived in his new palace on the Donau Canal, 
into which he had very recently removed from the Wallzeil and 
in which he had put his domestic establishment on a footing of 
great splendor. It suited his taste to have the first string quartet 
of Europe in his service. His own skill rendered him amply 
competent to play the second violin, which he usually did; but the 
young Mayseder, or some other of the first violinists of the city, 
was ever ready to take his part when required. Three permanent 
engagements only were, therefore, necessary, and these now, in 
late summer or early autumn, 1808, were made. To Schuppan- 
zigh — then the first of quartet players, but still without any per- 
manent engagement — was given the appointment for life of 
violino primo, and to him was entrusted the selection of the others. 
He recommended Weiss for the viola, whom Rasoumowsky ac- 
cepted and to whom, for himself and family, he granted a suitable 
lodging in one of the houses connected with the palace. 

Schuppanzigh had been so favorably impressed with the 
talents and skill of Linke as to secure him the place of violon- 
cellist. He was a young man of 25 years — slightly deformed in 
person — an orphan from his childhood. 

As before stated, Forster was the Count's instructor in musi- 
cal theory, the accomplished Bigot was librarian and his talented 
wife pianist. These were the years (1808-1815) when, says Sey- 
fried, "as is known Beethoven was, as it were, cock of the walk in 
the princely establishment; everything that he composed was 
rehearsed hot from the griddle and performed to the nicety of a 
hair, according to his ideas, just as he wanted it and not other- 
wise, with affectionate interest, obedience and devotion such as 

126 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

could spring only from such ardent admirers of his lofty genius, and 
with a penetration into the most secret intentions of the com- 
poser and the most perfect comprehension of his intellectual 
tendencies; so that these quartet players achieved that universal 
celebrity concerning which there was but one voice in the art- 

The date of Dragonetti's arrival in Vienna, on this, his second 
visit, disposes of an English tradition, that Beethoven wrote the 
famous contrabass passage in the Scherzo of the C minor Symphony 
expressly for him. The story contains doubtless so much of truth 
as this: that it was the display of the possibilities of that instru- 
ment, made by its greatest master, which induced Beethoven to 
venture the introduction into that symphony of what has so often 
proved a stumbling-block and rock of offence to contrabassists of 
no common and ordinary skill. 

But a new topic demands our attention. Beethoven in his 
later years, in moments of spleen and ill humor, gave utterance 
both in conversation and in writing to expressions, which have 
smce served as the basis of bitter diatribes against the Vienna 
public. Czerny — than whom no man could be better informed 
on the subject of the master's actual position — takes occasion in 
his notes for Jahn to remark: 

It has repeatedly been said in foreign lands that Beethoven was 
not respected in Vienna and was suppressed. The truth is that already 
as a youth he received all manner of support from our high aristocracy 
and enjoyed as much care and respect as ever fell to the lot of a young 
artist. . . . Later, too, when he estranged many by his hypochondria, noth- 
ing was charged against his often very striking peculiarities; hence his 
predilection for Vienna, and it is doubtful if he would have been left so 
undisturbed in any other country. It is true that as an artist he had 
to fight cabals, but the public was innocent in this. He was always mar- 
velled at and respected as an extraordinary being and his greatness 
was suspected even by those who did not understand him. Whether or 
not to be rich rested with him, but he was not made for domestic order. 

Upon the correctness of these statements, in so far as they 
relate to Beethoven's last years, the reader will have ample means 
of judging hereafter; he knows, that Czerny is right, up to the 
present date. Indeed, this month of November, to which the 
letter to Oppersdorff has brought us, affords him excellent con- 
firmation. For, as in the spring so now in autumn, it is Beetho- 
ven's popularity that must insure success to the Grand Concert 
for the public charities; it is his name that is known to be more 
attractive to the \'ienna public than any other, save that of 
the venerable Haydn; and as Haydn's oratorios are the staple 

The Court Theatres Change Managers 127 

productions at the great charity concerts of vocal music in the Burg 
theatre, so the younger master's symphonies, concertos and over- 
tures form the most alluring programmes for the instrumental 
"Academies" in the other theatres — at all events, in 1808, this 
was the opinion of Joseph Hartl. Beethoven's "princely rab- 
ble" had, after a year's experience and pecuniary losses, turned 
over the direction of the theatre to Government Councillor, now 
Court Councillor, Joseph Hartl. It was not so much for his love 
of art, as for the great reputation which his administrative talents 
had gained him, that Hartl was called to assume the labors of 
directing the three theatres, then sunk "into the most embarrass- 
ing conditions" — a call which he accepted. For three years he 
administered them wisely, and with all the success possible in the 
troubled state of the public business and finances. 

A supervisor of the public charities, who at the same time con- 
trolled the theatres, he was of course able to secure the highest 
talent for benevolent concerts on terms advantageous to all parties 
concerned ; and thus it came about, that at the concert for public 
charities in the Theater-an-der-Wien on the evening of Leopold's 
day, Tuesday, November loth, Beethoven conducted one of his 
symphonies, the "Coriolan" Overture, and a pianoforte concerto — 
perhaps he played the solo of the last; but the want of any detailed 
report of the concert leaves the point in doubt. Which of the 
symphonies and concertos were performed on this occasion is not 
recorded; it is only known that they were not new. In return 
for Beethoven's noble contribution of his works and personal ser- 
vices to the charity concerts of April 17 and November 15, 
Hartl gave him the free use of the Theater-an-der-Wien for an 
Akademie, thus advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" of December 17. 

Musical Academy. 

On Thursday, December 22, Ludwig van Beethoven will have the 
honor to give a musical academy in the R. I. Priv. Theater-an-der- 
Wien. All the pieces are of his composition, entirely new, and not yet 
heard in public. . . . First Part: 1, A Symphony, entitled : "A Recollection 
of Country Life," in F major (No. 5). 2, Aria. 3, 3 Hymns with Latin 
text, composed in the church style with chorus and solos. 4, Pianoforte 
Concerto played by himself. 

Second Part. 1, Grand Symphony in C minor (No. 6). 2, Holy, 
with Latin text composed in the church style with chorus and solos. 
3, Fantasia for Pianoforte alone. 4, Fantasia for the Pianoforte which 
ends with the gradual entrance of the entire orchestra and the introduc- 
tion of choruses as a finale. 

Boxes and reserved seats are to be had in the Krugerstrasse 
No. 1074, first storey. Beginning at half past six o'clock. 

128 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The importance of the works produced on this occasion, the 
whimsical occurrences that are related as having taken place, and 
the somewhat conflicting statements of persons present, justify 
an effort to sift the evidence and get at the truth, even at the risk 
of being tedious. It is unfortunate that the concert of November 
15 was so completely forgotten by all whose contemporary notices 
or later reminiscences are now the only sources of information; 
for it is certain that, either in the rehearsals or at the public per- 
formance, something happened which caused a very serious mis- 
understanding and breach between Beethoven and the orchestra; 
but even this is suflScient to remove some difficulties otherwise in- 
superable. Ries records in the "Xotizen" (p. 84) that a scene is 
said once to have happened in which the orchestra compelled the 
composer to realize his injustice "and in all seriousness insisted 
that he should not conduct. In consequence, at the rehearsal, 
Beethoven had to remain in an anteroom, and it was a long time 
before the quarrel was settled." Such a quarrel did arise at the 
time of the November concert. In Spohr's Autobiography is a 
story of Beethoven's first sweeping off the candles at the piano 
and then knocking down a choir boy deputed to hold one of them, 
by his too energetic motions at this concert, the two incidents 
setting the audience into a "bacchanalian jubilation" of laughter. 
It is absolutely certain, however, that nothing of the kind occurred 
at the concert itself, and that the story has its only foundation in 
Spohr's fancy. 

Compare now these statements by Ries and Spohr with 
citations from notes of a conversation with Rockel: "Beethoven 
had made the orchestra of the Theater-an-der-Wien so angry with 
him that only the leaders, Seyfried, Clement, etc., would have 
anything to do with him, and it was only after much persuasion 
and upon condition that Beethoven should not be in the room 
during the rehearsals, that the rank and file consented to play. 
During the rehearsals, in the large room back of the theatre, 
Beethoven walked up and down in an anteroom, and often Rockel 
with him. After a movement Sevfried would come to him for 
criticisms." Rockel believed the story (i.e., if told of a rehearsal) 
of Beethoven in his zeal having knocked the candles off the 
pianoforte, and he himself saw the boys, one on each side, 
holding candles for him. 

But the concert-giver's troubles were not ended even by his 
yielding to the demands of the orchestra. A solo singer was to be 
foimd and vocal pieces to be selected. In a note to Rockel 
Beethoven wrote: ". . . . in the matter of the vocal pieces I think 

Production of the Choral Fantasia 129 

that we ought to have one of the women singers who will sing for 
us, sing an aria first — then we will make two numbers out of the 
Mass, but with German text, find out who can do this for us. 
It need not be a masterpiece, provided it suits the Mass well." 
And again: "Be clever in regard to Milder — say to her only that 
to-day you are begging her in my name not to sing anywhere else, 
to-morrow I will come in person to kiss the hem of her garment — 
but do not forget Marconi. ..." 

Milder was to sing the aria "Ah, perfido! spergiuro," said 
Rockel, and accepted the invitation at once. But an unlucky 
quarrel provoked by Beethoven resulted in her refusal. After 
other attempts, Rockel engaged Fraulein Kilitzky, Schuppanzigh's 
sister-in-law. Being a young and inexperienced singer, her 
friends wrought her up to such a point that when Beethoven led 
her upon the stage and left her, stage fright overcame her and she 
made wretched work of the aria. Reichardt in a letter describes 
the Akademie: 

I accepted the kind offer of Prince Lobkowitz to let me sit in his box 
with hearty thanks. There we endured, in the bitterest cold, too, from 
half past six, to half past ten, and made the experience that it is easy 
to get too much of a good thing and still more of a loud. Nevertheless, 
I could no more leave the box before the end than could the exceedingly 
good-natured and delicate Prince, for the box was in the first balcony 
near the stage, so that the orchestra and Beethoven conducting it iil the 
middle below us, were near at hand; thus many a failure in the perform- 
ance vexed our patience in the highest degree. . . . Singers and orches- 
tra were composed of heterogeneous elements, and it had been found 
impossible to get a single full rehearsal for all the pieces to be performed, 
all filled with the greatest difficulties. 

Such a programme, exclusive of the Choral Fantasia, was 
certainly an ariiple provision for an evening's entertainment of the 
most insatiably musical enthusiast; nor could a grander termina- 
tion of the concert be desired than the Finale of the C minor 
Symphony; but to defer that work until the close was to incur the 
risk of endangering its effect by presenting it to an audience too 
weary for the close attention needful on first hearing to its fair - 
comprehension and appreciation. This Beethoven felt, and so, 
says Czerny, 

there came to him shortly before the idea of writing a brilliant piece 
for this concert. He chose a song which he had composed many years 
before,! planned the variations, the chorus, etc., and the poet Kuffner 
was called upon to write the words in a hurry according to Beethoven's 

^Czerny did not know that Beethoven had formed the idea of this work full eight 
years before. See notice on the Petter sketchbook ante, Chapter II. 

130 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

hints. Thus originated the Choral Fantasia, Op. 80. It was finished 
so late that it could scarcely be sufiiciently rehearsed. Beethoven 
related this in my presence in order to explain why, at the concert, he had 
had it repeated. "Some of the instruments had counted wrong in the 
rests," he said; "if I had let them play a few measures more the most 
horrible dissonances would have resulted. I had to make an interrup- 

The particulars of this scene, in which Reichardt suffered so, 
are more or less circumstantially related by Ries, Seyfried, Czerny, 
Moscheles and Dolezalek. Their statements when compared are 
not inconsistent and supplement each other, except as to Ries, 
whose memory evidently exaggerated what really occurred. Sub- 
stantially they are as follows: 

Seyfried (Appendix to "Beethoven's Studien," p. 15) : When the 
master brought out his orchestral Fantasia with choruses, he arranged 
with me at the somewhat hurried rehearsal, ^^-ith wet voice-parts as 
usual, that the second variation should be played without the repeat. 
In the evening, however, absorbed in his creation, he forgot all about the 
instructions which he had given, repeated the first part while the or- 
chestra accompanied the second, which sounded not altogether edifying. 
A trifle too late, the Concertmaster, Unrath, noticed the mistake, looked 
in surprise at his lost companions, stopped playing and called out 
drily: "Again!" A little displeased, the violinist Anton Wranitsky asked 
"\Yith repeats?" "Yes," came the answer, and now the thing went 
straight as a string. 

The "Allg. Mus. Zeit." reported: The ^^^nd-inst^uments varied the 
theme which Beethoven had previously played on the pianoforte. The 
turn came to the oboes. The clarinets, if I am not mistaken, make a 
mistake in the count and enter at once. A curious mixture of tones 
results. Beethoven jumps up, tries to silence the clarinets, but does not 
succeed until he has called out quite loudly and rather ill-temperedly : 
"Stop, stop! That will not do! Again — again!" 

Czerny: In the Pianoforte with chorus he called out at the mistake: 
"Wrong, badly played, ^\Tong, again!" Several musicians wanted to go 

Dolezalek: He jumped up, ran to the desks and pointed out the 

Moscheles: I remember having been present at the performance in 
question, seated in a corner of the gallery, in the Theater-an-der-Wien. 
During the last movement of the Fantasia I perceived that, hke a 
run-away carriage going down-hill, an overturn was inevitable. Almost 
immediately after it was, that I saw Beethoven give the signal for stop- 
ping. His voice was not heard; but he had prol^ably given directions 
where to begin again, and after a moment's respectful silence on the part 
of the audience, the orchestra recommenced and the performance pro- 
ceeded without further mistakes or stoppage. To those who are ac- 
quainted with the work, it may be interesting to know the precise point 
at which the mistake occurred. It was in the passage where for several 
pages every three bars make up a triple rhythm. 

The Fourth Pianoforte Concerto 131 

Seyfried says further: At first he could not understand that he had 
in a manner humiliated the musicians. He thought it was a duty to 
correct an error that had been made and that the audience was entitled 
to hear everything properly played, for its money. But he readily and 
heartily begged the pardon of the orchestra for the humiliation to which 
he had subjected it, and was honest enough to spread the story himself 
and assume all responsibility for his own absence of mind. 

The pecuniary results of this concert to Beethoven are not 

One of the two December concerts for the Widows and 
Orphans Fund was on the 22d, the same evening as Beethoven's; 
the other on the next. The vocal work selected was, in compliment 
to the venerable Haydn, his "Ritorno di Tobia," first performed 
in these concerts thirty-three years before. Being too short to 
fill out the evening, it was preceded, on the 22d, by an orchestral 
fantasia of Neukomm — on the 23d by a pianoforte concerto of 
Beethoven. Ries says 

that Beethoven asked him to play his fourth Concerto in G, giving him 
only five days in which to learn it. Thinking the time too short, Ries 
asked permission to play the C minor Concerto instead. Beethoven in 
a rage went to young Stein, who was wise enough to accept the offer; 
but as he could not prepare the Concerto in time, he begged Beethoven, 
on the day before the concert, as Ries had done, for permission to play 
the C minor Concerto. Beethoven had to acquiesce. Whether the 
fault was the theatre's, the orchestra's, or the player's, says Ries, the 
Concerto made no effect. Beethoven was very angry. 

For this concert Beethoven received 100 florins from Ester- 
hazy, who apparently ranked the composer with the leading actors 
of the theatre. Towards the close of 1808, Clementi again ar- 
rived in Vienna and was not a little surprised to learn from Beet- 
hoven that he had not yet received from London payment for the 
compositions which he had sold to Clementi in April, 1807. He 
wrote on December 28, 1808, to his partner asking that the money, 
£200, due Beethoven, as he had delivered the six compositions 
contracted for, be sent at once. But in September, 1809, the 
account had not yet been liquidated, as we shall see. There is 
reason to believe that a large number of compositions of greater 
or less extent was projected and in part sketched during this 
year; but the number know^n to have been completed, and there- 
fore properly bearing the date 1808, is small. These compositions 
are: The "Pastoral" Symphony, Op. 69; the Sonata for Piano- 
forte and Violoncello, Op. 69; the Trios for Pianoforte, Violin and 
Violoncello, in D and E-flat, Op. 70; the Fantasia for Pianoforte, 

[32 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Orchestra and Chorus, Op. 80; the Song (with four melodies) 

"Die Sehnsucht." 

* * 

The Sonata for Pianoforte and 'cello was sketched in 1807, 
and practically completed in that year, the only sketches appear- 
ing among those of 1808 being a couple evidently made while the 
work was being written out. The earlier sketches appear among 
those of the C minor Symphony. It is dedicated to Gleichen- 
stein. On June 8 Beethoven offered it, as has been seen, to Breit- 
kopf and Hiirtel, and it was included in the works for which 
Hartel signed a contract in person on September 14. On January 
7, 1809, Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel asking that 
Gleichenstein's title "K. K. Hofconcipist" be elided from the 
dedication, because it was distasteful to him. It was published in 
1809, but with a large number of errors which gave occasion to three 
letters from the composer to the publishers. (La Mara, "Musiker- 
briefe aus fiinf Jahrhunderten," 1886; Frimmel, "11. Beethoven 
Jahrbuch"; Kalischer, "Beethoven's Samtliche Briefe," II, 262 — 
where the date is incorrectly given as 1815.) 

The two Trios are dedicated to Countess Erdbdy, in w^hose 
house Beethoven lived when they were written. The first sketches 
for them found by Xottebohm belong to the second in E-flat and 
occur amongst the sketches for the Finale of the "Pastoral" 
symphony. The Trios are not mentioned in the first letter, in 
which Beethoven offers the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies besides 
other works to Breitkopf and Hartel. In the second letter, of 
July, Beethoven speaks of two pianoforte sonatas, and in a later 
letter of two trios. This has led to the conclusion that Beethoven 
first conceived them as solo sonatas and later developed them as 
trios. Beethoven played them at Countess Erdbdy's in the Christ- 
mastide of 1808, when Reichardt was present; he wrote an en- 
thusiastic account of them under date December 31. On May 
26, Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel suggesting changes 
in the text and also asking that the name of Archduke Rudolph 
be substituted for that of Countess Erdbdy in the dedication. 
The reason given was that the Archduke had become fond of the 
works and Beethoven had observed that in such cases his patron 
felt a gentle regret when the music was dedicated to somebody 
else. Beethoven, of course, says nothing of his quarrel with the 
Countess (of which something will be said in the next chapter). 
There was a reconciliation, and Beethoven's solicitude for the 

Summary of a Year's Work 133 

feelings of the Archduke seems to have evaporated; at any rate, 
the original dedication remained. 

The Choral Fantasia was obviously finished only a short time 
before its performance and is plainly one of the few compositions 
on which Beethoven worked continuously after once beginning it, 
though the plan of the work had occurred to him long before. 
The early sketch, to which allusion has been made, shows that the 
use of the melody of the song "Gegenliebe" was part of the original 
scheme. A sketchbook of 1808, whose contents were analyzed 
by Nottebohm ("Zweite Beethoveniana," p. 495), is devoted 
entirely to the Fantasia and the Pianoforte Concerto in E-flat, 
which was not worked out till later. The most interesting dis- 
closures of Nottebohm's study are that there is no hint of a piano- 
forte introduction such as Beethoven improvised at the per- 
formance; that Beethoven first thought of beginning with the 
string quartet of the orchestra; that work was begun before a 
text had been found; and that, as in the case of the Choral Sym- 
phony, of which the Fantasia is so interesting a prototype in 
miniature, Beethoven thought of paving the way for the intro- 
duction of the voices by words calling attention to the new- 
comers among the harmonious company {Hort ihr wohl ?) . Czerny's 
statement that the text was written by KuflPner is questioned by 
Nottebohm, who points out that the poem is not included in the 
collected writings of that author, though all manner of fragments 
and trifles are. Because of the ingenuity and effectiveness with 
which the words were adapted to the music, Nottebohm sus- 
pects Treitschke of having written them in accordance with 
Beethoven's suggestions as to form and contents. The intro- 
ductory pianoforte fantasia which was published to take the 
place of Beethoven's improvisation at the first performance, 
was composed in 1809. 

The publications of the year 1808 were: 

1. Trois Quatuors pour deux Violons, Alto et Violoncello, com- 
poses par Louis van Beethoven. (Euvre dO"^. Dedicated to His Excel- 
lency Count von Rasoumowsky. Advertised by the Kunst- and In- 
dustrie-Comptoir in the "Wiener Zeitung" of January 9. 

2. Ouverture de Coriolan, Tragedie de M. de Collin, etc., composee 
et dediee a Monsieur de Collin, etc.. Op. 62. Advertised in the same place 
on the same date. 

3. "Sehnsucht," by Goethe, No. 1 of the four melodies published 
as a supplement to the periodical "Prometheus" in April. 

134 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

4. Fourth Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra. Dedicated to 
His Highness, Archduke Rudolph of Austria, Op. 58. Advertised . by 
the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir in the "Wiener Zeitung" on August 10. 

5. Concerto pour le Pianoforte avec accompagnement de grand 
Orchestre, arrange d'apres son 1^ Concerto de Violon et dedie a Madame de 
Breuning. CEuvre 61. Advertised in the same journal on August 10. 

6. "/n questa toraha oscnra," the last of 63 settings of the same 
text by various composers, published by T. MoUo, and advertised in the 
"Wiener Zeitung" of September 3. 

Chapter VIII 

Jerome Bonaparte's Invitation — The Annuity Contract — 
Operatic Projects— Seyfried's "Studies"— The Siege of 
Vienna — Increased Cost of Living — Dilatory Debtors — 
The Year 1809. 

THE offer of an honorable position in Cassel — permanent, so 
long as Napoleon's star might remain in the ascendant and 
his satellite retain his nominal kingship of Westphalia — was 
one no less gratifying to Beethoven, than surprising and perplexing 
to his friends. Knowing both the strong and the weak points of 
his character, they saw the extreme improbability that, with his 
increasing deafness, his removal thither could in the end re- 
dound to his profit, honor, or happiness. On the other hand, they 
saw him — at the very moment when he was giving new proofs 
of those stupendous powers which elevate him far above all other 
instrumental composers — forced to consider the question of 
seeking in a small provincial capital that permanent provision 
for his future necessities which, in the home of his choice at the 
end of sixteen years' residence, he saw no hope of obtaining. 
What an inexcusable, unpardonable disgrace to Vienna would be 
the departure of Beethoven under such circumstances! It was 
the first time the question had been presented; but being presented 
it was promptly met by a request from persons of "high and the 
highest rank that he state the conditions under which" he would 
decline the call to Cassel and remain in Vienna. 

Here was one of those happy opportunities for conferences, 
notes, letters and despatches innumerable, which Beethoven all 
his life seems to have so eagerly embraced and enjoyed. Several 
of his notes to Gleichenstein on the topic have been preserved, 
but are not worth transcribing, except those containing instruc- 
tions for the drafting of the conditions of his remaining in Vienna. 
A letter dated January 7, 1809, by Beethoven to Breitkopf and 
Hartel, indicates that at the opening of the year 1809, Beethoven 
was still firmly resolved to go to Cassel. In it occurs this passage: 


136 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

At last I am forced by the intrigues and cabals and contemptible 
actions of all kinds to leave the only surviving German fatherland on the 
invitation of his Royal Majesty of ^Yestphalia, I am going thither as 
chapelmaster with an annual salary of 600 ducats in gold — I have only 
to-day sent my assurance that I will come by post and am only waiting 
my decree before making preparations for my journey which will be by 
way of Leipsic — therefore in order that my journey shall be the more 
brilliant for me I beg of you if not too prejudicial to your interests not to 
make anything known of my works till Easter — in the case of the sonata 
which is dedicated to Baron Gleichenstein, please omit the "K. K. 
Concipist," as it is distasteful to him. In all probability abusive letters 
■will again be written from here about my last musical academy to the 
"Musikalische Zeitung"; I do not ask that what is against me be sup- 
pressed; yet somebody ought to be convinced that nobody has more 
personal enemies here than I; this is the more easily to be understood, 
since the state of music here is steadily growing worse — we have chapel- 
masters who know so little about conducting that they can scarcely 
read a score themselves — it is worst of all, of course, auf der Wieden — 
there I had to give my academy and all kinds of obstacles were put in my 
way. The Widows' Concert, and Herr Salieri is among the first, was 
guilty of the hideous act of threatening to expel every musician who 
played for me — notwithstanding that several mistakes which I could 
not help were made, the public accepted everji;hing enthusiastically — 
nevertheless, scribblers from here will certainly not fail again to send 
miserable stuff against me to the "Musikalische Zeitung" — the musicians 
were particularly angry because when a blunder was made through 
carelessness in the simplest, plainest place in the world, I suddenly 
commanded silence and loudly called Again — such a thing had never 
happened to them before; the public at this showed its enjoyment — but 
it is daily growing worse. The day before my concert, in the easy little 
opera Milton, at the theatre in the city, the orchestra fell into such 
disorder that chapelmaster and director and orchestra veritably suffered 
shipwreck — for the chapelmaster instead of being ahead was behind 
in his beat and then came the director. 

(On the back of the cover) : 

I beg of you to say nothing with certainty about my appointment 
in Westphalia until I write to you that I have received my decree. — 
Farewell, etc. 

It seems likely that the suggestion that formal stipulations 
for a contract under which Beethoven would decline the offer 
from Cassel and remain in Vienna be drawn up came from Coun- 
tess Erdody. At any rate Beethoven writes to Gleichenstein: 
"Countess Erdody is of the opinion that you ought to outline a 
plan with her according to which you might negotiate in case they 
approach you as she is convinced they will. If you have time 
this afternoon, the Countess will be glad to see you." 

The outline of the proposition which was to be submitted 
to certain noble gentlemen was drawn up by Beethoven for 
Gleichenstein as follows: 

Plan to Keep Beethoven in Vienna 137 

(On the outside: "Outline for a Musical Constitution.") 
First the offer of the King of Westphalia is to be set forth. B. can- 
not be held down to any obligation on account of this salary since the 
chief object, viz., the invention of new works would suffer thereby — this 
remuneration must be assured to Beethoven until he voluntarily re- 
nounces it — the Imperial title also if possible — to alternate with Salieri 
and Eibeler — the promise of active court service as soon as possible — or 
adjunction if it be worth while. Contract with the theatres likewise 
Math the title of Member of one of the Committees of Theatrical Direc- 
tion — a fixed day forever for a concert, even if there be a change in the 
directorate in the theatre, in return for which Beethoven binds himself 
to compose a new work every year for one of the charity concerts as may 
be thought most useful — or to conduct two — a place at a money changer's 
or such kind where Beethoven would receive the stipulated salary — the 
salary must be paid also by the heirs. 

On some of these points Beethoven changed his mind and 
wrote again thus: 

It is probably too late to-day — I could not get your writing back 
from E. — until now, inasmuch as A. wanted to add a few items, buts, 
and inasmuches — I beg of you to have everything turn on the true and 
proper practice of my art, thus you will write what is in my heart and 
head — the introduction is what I am to get in Westphalia, 600 ducats in 
gold, 150 ducats travelling expenses, for which I have to do nothing 
except conduct the King's concerts which are short and not numerous — 
I am not even bound to conduct any opera that I may write — from all 
which it is clear that I can devote myself wholly to the most important 
purpose of my art to compose works of magnitude — also an orchestra at 
my disposal. 

N. B. The title of Member of one of the Theatrical Committees is 
dropped — It could bring nothing but vexation — in respect of the Im- 
perial duties I think the point must be handled delicately — not less than 
the demand for the title of Imperial Chapelmaster, than a regard to my 
being placed in a position through a court salary to give up the sum which 
the gentlemen are now paying me. I think that this might best be 
expressed as a hope or a highest wish sometime to enter the Imperial 
service, when I could at once accept as much less as the sum received 
from his Imperial Majesty amounts to. 

(On the top of the last page) : 
N, B. We shall need it to-morrow at 12 o'clock, because we must 
then go to Kinsky. I hope to see you to-day. 

Under these instructions the "Conditions" were drawn up 
by some person unknown, in manner and form following: 

It must be the striving and aim of every true artist to achieve a 
position in which he can devote himself wholly to the elaboration of 
larger works and not be hindered by other matters or economical con- 
siderations. A musical composer can, therefore, have no livelier desire 
than to be left undisturbedly to the invention of works of magnitude and 
then to produce them in public. In doing this he must also keep his old 

138 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

age in view and seek to make ample provision for himself against that 


The King of Westphalia has offered Beethoven a salary of 600 ducats 
in gold for life and 150 ducats travelling expenses, on the single condition 
that he occasionally play for him and conduct his chamber concerts, which 
are to be not numerous and short. 

This offer is certainly entirely in the interest of art and the artist. 

Beethoven, however, has so great a predilection for life in this city, 
so much gratitude for the many proofs of good will which he has received 
here, and so much patriotism for his second fatherland, that he will 
never cease to count himself among Austrian artists and will never make 
his domicile elsewhere if the opportunities mentioned above are measur- 
ably offered him here. 

Persons of high and the highest ranks, having asked him to state 
under what conditions he would be willing to remain here, he has com- 
plied with the request as follows: 

1. Beethoven should receive from a great personage assurance of 
a salary for life even if a number of persons of rank contribute to the sum. 
This salary under the existing conditions of high cost of living, could not 
be less than 4000 florins a year. Beethoven desires that the donors of 
this salary consider themselves co-authors of his new works in the large 
forms, because they place him in a position to devote himself to their 
production and relieve him of the need of attending to other affairs. 

2. Beethoven should always have freedom to make artistic tours, 
because only by such can he make himself very well known and acquire 
some property. 

3. It would be his greatest desire and most ardent wish sometime 
to enter into the actual Imperial service and by reason of the salary ex- 
pected from such a source to be able to waive in whole or in part the 
compensation set forth above; meanwhile the title merely of an Imperial 
Chapel master would make him very happy; if it could be obtained for 
him his stay here would be still dearer to him. 

Should this desire some day be fulfilled and he receive a salary from 
His Majesty, Beethoven will forgo his claim on as much of the 4000 
florins as the Imperial salary amounts to, and if this is 4000 florins, then 
he would forgo the entire 4000 florins above specified. 

4. As Beethoven desires to perform his new works in public, he 
desires an assurance from the Court Theatrical Directors, for themselves 
and their successors, that on Palm Sunday of each year he shall have the 
use of the Thcater-an-der-Wien for a concert for his own benefit. 

In return for this assurance, Beethoven would bind himself to ar- 
range and conduct a charity concert every year or, in case of inability to 
do this, to contribute a new work for such a concert. ' 

The conditions proving acceptable, the business was con- 
cluded and Beethoven retained in Vienna by this 

'The agreement between this memorial and the letters written on the subject 
(apparently to Gleichenstein — though Thayer was not willing to commit himself on this 
point) make it most prol)able that he was the author of the docunient. Even the senti- 
mental suggestion that the contributors might look upon themselves as co-authors of the 
great works to come, went out from Beethoven in one of the notes probably sent to 

Beethoven Guaranteed an Annuity 139 


The daily proofs which Herr Ludwig van Beethoven is giving of his 
extraordinary talents and genius as musician and composer, awaken the 
desire that he surpass the great expectations which are justified by his 
past achievements. 

But as it has been demonstrated that only one who is as free from 
care as possible can devote himself to a single department of activity and 
create works of magnitude which are exalted and which ennoble art, the 
undersigned have decided to place Herr Ludwig van Beethoven in a posi- 
tion where the necessaries of life shall not cause him embarrassment or 
clog his powerful genius. 

To this end they bind themselves to pay him the fixed sum of 4000 
(four thousand) florins a year, as follows : 

His Imperial Highness, Archduke Rudolph Fl. 1500 

The Highborn Prince Lobkowitz " 700 

The Highborn Prince Ferdinand Kinsky " 1800 

Total Fl. 4000 

which Herr van Beethoven is to collect in semi-annual installments, 
pro rata, against voucher, from each of these contributors. 

The undersigned are pledged to pay this annual salary until Herr 
van Beethoven receives an appointment which shall yield him the 
equivalent of the above sum. 

Should such an appointment not be received and Herr Ludwig van 
Beethoven be prevented from practising his art by an unfortunate ac- 
cident or old age, the participants herein grant him the salary for life. 

In consideration of this Herr Ludwig van Beethoven pledges him- 
self to make his domicile in Vienna, where the makers of this document 
live, or in a city in one of the other hereditary countries of His Austrian 
Imperial Majesty, and to depart from this domicile only for such set 
times as may be called for by his business or the interests of art, touching 
which, however, the high contributors must be consulted and to which 
they must give their consent. 

Given in Vienna, March 1, 1809. 

(L. S.) Rudolph, 

(L. S.) Prince von Lobkowitz, 

Duke of Raudnitz. 
(L, S.) Ferdinand Prince Kinsky. 

This document bears in Beethoven's hand these words: 


On February 26, 1809 

from the hands 

of Archduke 
Rudolph, R. H. 

The remarks in a former chapter upon the singular attraction 
for the young of Beethoven and his works are supported by this 
contract. Lobkowitz, it is true, was near the master's age, being 

140 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

then 35; but Rudolph and Kinsky were respectively but 21 and 27. 
Ries, who was then much with Beethoven, asserts that the con- 
tract with the King of Westphalia "was all ready; it lacked only 
the signature" before his Vienna friends moved in the matter 
and "settled a salary on him for life." He continues: 

The first fact I knew; of the second I was in ignorance until sud- 
denly Chajiclmaster Reichardt came to me and said: "Beethoven posi- 
tively would not accept the post in Cassel; would I as Beethoven's 
only pupil go there on a smaller salary?" I did not believe the first, 
went at once to Beethoven to learn the truth about it and to ask his 
advice. I was turned away for three weeks — even my letters on the 
subject were unanswered. Finally I found Beethoven at the Ridotto. 
I went to him and told him the reason of my inquiries, whereupon he 
said in a cutting tone: "<So — do you think that you can fill a position which 
was offered to me?'' He remained cold and repellant. The next morn- 
ing I went to him to get an understanding. His servant said to me 
gruffly: "My master is not at home," although I heard him singing and 
playing in the next room. Since the servant positively refused to an- 
nounce me I resolved to go right in; but he sprang to the door and pushed 
me back. Enraged by this I grabbed him by the throat and hurled 
him down. Beethoven, hearing the racket, dashed out and found his 
servant still lying on the floor and me pale as death. Angrily excited, 
I so deluged him with reproaches that he stood motionless and speech- 
less with surprise. When the matter was finally explained to him he 
said, "I did not understand it so; I was told that you were trying to get 
the appointment behind my back." On my assuring him that I had not 
yet even given an answer, he at once went out with me to make the 
mistake good. But it was too late; I did not get the appointment, though 
it would have been a piece of great good fortune for me at that time. 

It requires no great sagacity to perceive from the text of the 
"Agreement," that neither of its signers had any expectation that 
Beethoven could ever perform the duties of an Imperial Conductor 
acceptably; and his hope of obtaining the title must have rested 
upon the influence, which he supposed Archduke Rudolph might 
exert upon Emperor Franz. Be this as it may, the composer was 
justly elated by the favorable change in his pecuniary condition; 
and his very natural exultation peeps out in the correspondence 
of the time. While the business was still undecided, Gleichen- 
stein had departed on a visit to his native Freiburg, via Munich, 
taking with him a letter of introduction, the contents of which 
Beethoven himself thus epitomises: 

Here, my dear fellow, is the letter to Winter. First it says that 
you are my friend — secondly, what you are, namely K. K. Hojconcipist — 
thirdly, that you are not a connoisseur of music but nevertheless a friend 
of all that is beautiful and good — in view of which I have asked the chapel- 
master in case anything of his is performed to let you participate in it. . . . 

The Invitation to Cassel Declined 141 

On March 18, Gleichenstein received a copy or abstract of the 
contract enclosed in this: 

You see my dear, good Gleichenstein how honorable my remaining 
here has turned out for me — the title of Imperial Chapelmaster will also 
come later, etc. Write to me as soon as possible if you think that I 
ought to make the journey in the present warlike state of affairs — and if 
you are still firmly resolved to travel with me; several have advised me 
against it, but in this matter I shall follow you imphcitly; since you 
already have a carriage it would have to be arranged that for a stretch 
you travel towards me and I towards you. Write quickly. Now you 
can help me hunt a wife, if you find a beautiful one in F. who yields a 
sigh to my harmonies, but it must be no Elise Burger, tackle her at 
once. But she must be beautiful, for I cannot love what is not beautiful 
— else I should love myself. 

The jesting on matrimony in this letter and the allusion to 
Burger's unlucky marriage with Christine Elizabeth Hahn, attest 
the writer's lightness of spirit, but are not to be taken seriously; 
for we shall soon find reason to believe that at this moment he 
had a very different project in view than to make a wife of the 
greatest beauty in Freiburg. ^ 

Under date "Vienna, March 4, 1809," Beethoven wrote a letter 
to Breitkopf and Hartel in which he informed them, by means of an 
inclosure to which he called their attention, of his change of plans 
touching the appointment at Cassel and told them that he was 
contemplating a "little journey," provided the "threatening storm- 
clouds did not become more dense." The letter accompanied the 
Violoncello Sonata dedicated to Baron Gleichenstein and the Fifth 
and Sixth Symphonies, together with a memorandum of slight im- 
provements w^hich had suggested themselves to him at the perform- 
ance; also a formula for the dedication of the Trios (then numbered 
62) to Countess Erdody. About this time came out new composi- 
tions and new editions or arrangements of old ones which occupied 
the opus numbers from 59 to 66 and compelled Beethoven to 
change these proposed numbers, 59-62 to 67-70. The "Allg. Mus. 
Zeit." had printed a notice about the offer from Cassel in which 
Reichardt w^as represented as having been the intermediary in the 

^On this letter Dr. Riemann comments as follows: "This letter proves conclusively 
that in the spring of 1809, Beethoven was not yet thinking of a union with Therese 
Malfatti and that all letters to Gleichenstein containing hints of that nature are of later 
date. But it may safely be assumed that the settlement of a fixed income upon him 
together with the receipts from his compositions set Beethoven seriously to thinking of 
marriage. Although Dr. Malfatti, uncle of the sisters Therese and Anna, had been 
Beethoven's house physician since the death of Dr. Schmidt (February 13, 1808), it was 
not until some time in the course of the year 1809, that Beethoven's inclination towards 
Therese gradually developed until it led to a formal proposal of marriage in the spring of 

142 The Life of Ll'dwig van Beethoven 

negotiations. This brought out from Beethoven a correction 
dated April 5, addressed to Breitkopf and Hartel: 

Your letter was received by me with pleasure. I thank you for the 
article in the A. M. Z., only I wish that when occasion offers, you would 
make a correction in respect of Reichardt, I was not at all engaged by R., 
on the contrary, the Chief Chamberlain of his Majesty, the King of 
Westphalia, Count Truchsess-Waldburg, conveyed to me the offer of 
First Chapelmaster of H, R. H., the King of Westphalia. This offer was 
made before Reichardt came to Vienna and he was surprised, as he himself 
said, that nothing of it had reached his ears. R. took all manner of 'pains 
to dissuade me from going there. As I have besides very many reasons 
for questioning the character of Mr. R. — and he may, for political reasons, 
perhaps have communicated this to you — I think that I am entitled to the 
greater credence and that on an occasion which might easily be created, 
you will print the truth about the affair — since it is important as touching 
my honor. Also by next post I shall send you all three works, the 
oratorio, opera, mass — and ask no more for them than 250 florins in 
convention money — I do not believe that you will complain at this — 
I cannot find the letter just now in which Simrock offered 100 florins, 
convention money, for the mass, here too I could get this sum and even 
something more from the Chemical Printing Co., for them; I am not 
hoaxing you, that you know — I nevertheless send you all three works 
because I know that you will not take advantage of the fact. Make 
the inscriptions in French as you please. Next time you shall receive a 
few lines about the other matter — it is impossible to-day. 

Your most obedient 

Friend and Servant 


It need not be a pompous retraction, but the truth ought to be made 

Do not forget the First Chapelmaster, I laugh at such things, but 
there are Miserables who know how to dish up such things in the manner, 
of the cook. 

The allusions to a tour in the letters to Gleichenstein and 
Breitkopf and Hartel, and the provision made in the Agreement for 
the composer's temporary absence from Austria, acquire a par- 
ticular significance from one of the notes of Rockel's conversation, 
namely: "Beethoven in those days was full of the project of 
traveling, and a plan was marked out of visiting the German cities, 
then England and finally Spain; upon which last Rockel laid great 
stress. He was to have accompanied Beethoven; but he could 
not leave Vienna, on account of having so many of his brothers and 
sisters^ sent to him to care for." 

'"One of these sisters," writes Thayer, "was sent to him (in 1S07-S?), she then 
being but some twelve years of age. lie gave her a good education, and brought her 
out as a singer, when Hummel fell in love with her, married her and withdrew her 
from the stage. I asked Riickel if she could by any possibility have been the person 
with whom Beethoven in 1809-10 had a marriage project? He proved to me that 
she was not. So that story is put at rest." 

Relations with Franz Oliva 143 

In March, 1809, Beethoven, forwarding a letter to his brother, 
"to be delivered at the apothecary shop 'To the Golden Crown' " 
in Linz, enclosed in it an envelope, inside of which he wrote the 
words quoted in a previous chapter, in which he prayed God to 
put feeling in place of insensibility into his brothers, and be- 
moaned the fact that, needing some one to help him, he knew not 
whither to turn. The breach between Beethoven and his brother 
Karl was now, in business matters, complete; and he needed some 
one to perform for him many little offices which he could not with 
propriety demand of Zmeskall, Gleichenstein or Rockel, even had 
they had the leisure and the will. Hence, about this time, was 
formed his connection with a certain Franz Oliva, clerk in the 
employ of Offenheimer and Herz. A singular obscurity rests 
upon this man's personal history and the exact nature of his re- 
lations to Beethoven — an obscurity which even the indefatigable 
investigator Ferdinand Luib did not succeed in removing. What 
is certain is this: the relations between them were exceedingly 
close up to the spring of 1812; afterwards less so; but never broken 
off entirely until the departure of Oliva in 1820 to St. Petersburg, 
where he found it for his interest to establish himself as a teacher 
of languages. In due time the "Wiener Zeitung" published an 
official notice from the Austrian Government calling upon him 
immediately to return and justify himself for overstaying his 
leave of absence under pain otherwise of being proceeded against 
under the emigration laws of the country. Oliva's reply to this 
was a very practical one; he took a wife, fixed his Lares and 
Penates in St. Petersburg and begat a daughter, who, under date 
of August 26, answered a letter of Otto Jahn's inquiring about her 
father's relations and correspondence with Beethoven by saying 
that a fire and the death of Oliva from cholera in 1848, had caused 
the loss and dissipation of Beethoven's letters and that she was 
unable to write the details of the intercourse between her father 
and Beethoven. Inasmuch as she fixed the beginning of this 
intercourse in 1814, it is not likely that her contribution to this 
history would have been valuable. 

But the threatening war-clouds became more dense. The 
same French armies which laid the foundations for Johann van 
Beethoven's prosperity not only prevented Ludwig's contem- 
plated journey but affected him disastrously both pecuniarily and 
professionally. On May 4th, the Empress left Vienna with the 
Imperial family. Archduke Rudolph accompanied her, and Beet- 
hoven mourned his departure in the well-known first movement of 
the Sonata, Op. 81a. This work has been described by Marx as a 

144 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"Soul picture, which brings before the mind the Parting — let us 
assume of two lovers; the deserted — let us assume again sweet- 
heart or wife — and Reunion of the Parted Ones." But unfor- 
tunately for that writer Beethoven's manuscript bears these in- 
scriptions in his own hand: "The Farew^ell, Vienna, May 4, 1809, 
on the departure of His Imperial Highness the revered Archduke 
Rudolph"; on the Finale: "The Arrival of His Imperial Highness 
the revered Archduke Rudolph, January 30, 1810." 

With a garrison of 16,000 troops, 1000 students and artists, the 
civil militia and a small number of summoned men. Archduke 
^Maximilian was ordered to defend Vienna. Thus it came about 
that Beethoven, on the 10th of May, found himself shut up in a 
beleaguered city. 

Beethoven's experiment of lodging with Countess Erdbdy, 
as might have been predicted, was not a successful one; he was too 
irritable, whimsical, obstinate; too ready to take offense, too lax 
in asking or giving explanations. We have seen in divers cases, 
how, when he discovered himself to be in the wrong, he gladly 
made every due acknowledgment; but, as in the case of Ries, this 
was often too late to remedy the mischief already caused. Before 
the close of the winter, he was evidently becoming discontented; 
so much so as to take ill even the singular proof of the Countess* 
good will spoken of in the following note: 

I think, my dear Zmeskall, that even after the war is over, if ever 
it begins, you will be ready to carry on negotiations for peace. What a 
glorious office! ! I leave it wholly in your hands to settle the affair about 
my servant, but the Countess must not have the slightest influence over 
him. She has, as she says, given him 25 fl. and 5 fl. a month only to 
make him remain with me. Now I must necessarily believe in this 
magnanimity — but do not wish it to be continued. . . . 

Another note bears Zmeskall's date: "March 7, 1809": 

I might easily have thought it. About the blows, this is dragged in 
by the hair of the head; this story is at least 3 months old — and is by 
no means — what he now makes out of it — the whole miserable affair 
was brought about by a huckster woman and other wretches — but I 
shall not lose much, because he was really spoiled in the house where I am. 

What cause of dissension, beyond the ill-advised gratifications 
to the servant, had arisen between Beethoven and the Countess is 
not known; but something had occurred, the blame of which he 
soon saw was all his own, and for which he thus humbly expresses 
his contrition and beseeches forgiveness: 

My dear Countess, I have erred, that is true — forgive me, it was 
assuredly not intentional malice on my part, if I have pained you — only 

French Occupation of Vienna 145 

since last night do I know the truth about the matter, and I am very 
sorry that I acted as I did — read your billet coolly and judge for yourself 
if I deserve all and if you did not pay me back six-fold since I offended 
you unintentionally; send my note back to me to-day, and write me only 
one word that you are no longer angry, I shall suffer infinitely if you do 
not do this, I can do nothing if things are to continue thus — I await your 

There are sufficient grounds for belief that an immediate 
reconciliation took place; nevertheless, Beethoven decided to go 
into another lodging, and one was found for him in the "Klepper- 
stall in der Teinfaltstrasse im Sten Stock beym Advokaten 
Gotischa," as he describes it in a letter to Breitkopf and Hartel 
dated August 3, 1809. He does not seem to have occupied 
the lodging, however, for as a letter written to Zmeskall in the 
same month ^ shows he was still in Baden, much interested in 
the exhibitions of an aeronaut named Degen. If he took posses- 
sion at all he soon gave it up and removed to one in the Walfisch- 
gasse looking out over the city wall and glacis directly upon the 
place where the Polytechnic Institute now stands. 

The French commanders demanded the capitulation of 
Vienna, but Archduke Maximilian rejected the demands, and the 
French erected a battery on the Spittelberg to shell the city. 
Every shot directed by this battery against the Karnthnerthor 
and the Wasserkunst Bastei was liable to plunge into Beethoven's 

At 9 o'clock at night (on the 11th) the battery of 20 howit- 
zers opened fire. Rich and poor, high and low, young and old at 
once found themselves crowded indiscriminately in cellars and 
fireproof vaults. 

Beethoven took refuge in the Rauhensteingasse and "spent 
the greater part of the time in a cellar in the house of his brother 
Kaspar (Karl), where he covered his head with pillows so as not to 
hear the cannons," so says Ries. More probably Beethoven took 
this wise precaution to save his feeble organs of hearing from the 
effect of the sharp reports of bursting shells, for it does not appear 
that either the cannons on the bastions or those mounted in the 
streets were fired. "At half-past 2 (the afternoon of the 12th) the 
white flag was sent up as notice of capitulation to the outposts of 
the enemy." 

The occupation of the capital by the French and the 
gathering together of opposing armies for the terrible battles of 
Aspern, Esslingen, Wagram and Znaim produced the inevitable 

^The letter is incorrectly dated "1811" in the Kalischer Collection. 

146 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

effects of increased consumption and deficient supply of the neces- 
saries of life. Even before the capitulation "the rate of interest 
went up fearfully, especially in the sale of food, particularly bread, 
and because of the disappearance of copper coins." From the 
capitulation to the armistice of July 12th, two months, "the enemy 
had drawn from the city nearly 10,000,000 florins and demanded 
enormous requisitions of supplies." There was one requisition, 
perhaps more than one, which touched Beethoven directly: "A 
forced loan on the houses of the city and the suburbs amounting 
to one-quarter of the rentals from owners or the parties to a con- 
tract for rent on from 101 to 1000 florins and one-third on from 
1001 to 2000 florins, etc." Perhaps at no other time was Beet- 
hoven so well able to meet the extraordinary demands upon his 
purse as now. He had received from Archduke Rudolph 750 florins 
and from Prince Lobkowitz 350 florins, his first payment of the 
annuity; and doubtless Breitkopf and Hartel and his other pub- 
lishers had remitted money or bills. Still he must have felt the 
pressure of the time severely before Vienna again became free. 
To whom could he go for aid? Kinsky departed to Prague on 
February 26; his wife and Prince Lobkowitz on March 14. 
The Lichnowskys, Palfys, Waldstein, etc., were all away; some 
in the war; some in the civil service; some on their estates — the 
Erdodys, for instance, took refuge in Hungary or Croatia. Of 
personal friends, Breuning seems to have remained — no other is 
known to have done so. Bigot and his wife went off to Paris, 
never to return; Zmeskall and the public officials in general had 
followed the Court and the Ministers to places of safety. The 
posts were interrupted and for many weeks communication with 
the country prohibited. It was not until near the end of July 
that the Prater, the Augarten, Schwarzenberg Garten, and the 
Schcinbrunner Garten were opened to the public. For Beethoven, 
this confi.nemont during this season of the year when he was ac- 
customed to ])reathe inspiration in vale and forest, was almost 
intoleral)le, and increased if possible his old hatred of Napoleon 
and the French. Young Rust met him one day in a coffee-house 
and saw him shake his fist at a passing French officer, with the ex- 
clamation: "If I, as general, knew as much about strategy as I the 
composer know of counterpoint, I'd give you something to do!" 

Under such circumstances, and with no immediately pressing 
necessity for composition, even the genius of a Beethoven must 
sleep. We may suppose, that under the impulse of the departure 
of the Archduke, Beethoven completed the "Farewell" and "Ab- 
sence" of the Sonata, Op. 81a; and that he gave the final touches to 

A Member of the Dutch Institute 147 

the Pianoforte Concerto in E-flat, Op. 73, and made some studies 
for new symphonies, and sonatas; but the fountain soon ran dry, 
and the tedious weeks of this miserable summer were mainly 
devoted to the laborious task of selecting and copying in order 
extracts from the theoretical works of C. P. E. Bach, Turk, 
Kirnberger, Fux and Albrechtsberger, for subsequent use in the 
instruction of Archduke Rudolph — a task which, in our opinion, 
he had for some time had in mind, and had begun, at the very 
latest, early in the year. The "Materials for Thoroughbass" and 
"Materials for Counterpoint" — as two of his books are respec- 
tively headed by him — are largely the basis of that extraordinary 
imposition upon the musical public, prepared by Sej'fried and 
published by Haslinger as Beethoven's Studies under Haydn and 
Albrechtsberger — an imposition which was successful for 30 years! 
Schindler early warned the public against the fraud. His charges 
were never answered; nor was his challenge to prove the 
genuineness of the work taken up. 

Some time in August a letter from Amsterdam, which was 
preserved by the widow of Beethoven's nephew Karl, was re- 
ceived by the composer, notifying to him his appointment as a 
Correspondent of the Fourth Class of the Royal Institute of 
Science, Literature and the Fine Arts. It gave occasion shortly 
after its receipt for a letter to Breitkopf and Hartel in which 
Beethoven says: "Do you know that I have become a member of 
the Society of Fine Arts and Sciences.^ — after all a title — ha-ha, it 
makes me laugh!" In another letter to Breitkopf and Hartel, 
dated August 8, he says he has sent them the Sextet for Wind- 
instruments, Op. 71, and two German songs as a "return gift for 
all the things which I have asked as gifts from yon" "The Sextet is 
one of my early things and, besides, was written in one night; 
nothing more can be said of it except that it was written by an 
author who at least has done better things — hut to 7nany people 
such things are the best." He also asks for the complete works of 
Goethe and Schiller, his "favorite poets, with Ossian and Homer." 
One of the two songs referred to was undoubtedly "Ich denke 
dein." The second song was probably the "Lied aus der 
Feme," the first of five settings which Beethoven made of poems 
by C. L. Reissig and which gave rise to much annoyance. In a 
letter to Breitkopf and Hartel, dated February 4, 1810, he wrote: 

The "Gesang in der Feme" which my brother sent you recently ^ was 
written by a dilettante, as you no doubt observed for yourselves, who 

'If the estrangement between Beethoven and his brother was of eariier date 
than this, it would appear as if the siege of Vienna had brought them together again. 

148 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

pressed me urgently to set it to music, but has also taken the liberty to 
have the a(ria) printed, I therefore have thought it well to give you a proof 
of my friendly feeling by informing you of the fact, I hope you will print 
it at once on receipt, you can send it here and elsewhere as you please, 
if you make haste you may have it here before it can be printed here, I 
know for a certainty that it will be published by Artaria — I wrote the A. 
only as a favor, and as a favor I give it to you — but I beg you to send me 
the following book, namely "Bechstein's Natural History of Birds in two 
large volumes with copper-plates," with which I wish to give great 
pleasure to a good friend of mine ... I am not yet sound in health — we 
are given poor food and have to pay incredibly — things are not quite in 
order with my appointment, I have not yet received a heller from 
Kinsky — I fear or rather almost hope that I shall be compelled to go 
away perhaps even for the sake of my health, it may be a long time before 
conditions grow better than they are now — there can be no thought of 
what they were. 

In this letter Beethoven offers Breitkopf and Hartel the 
Fantasia (Op. 77), the Choral Fantasia (Op. 80), three Pianoforte 
Sonatas (Op. 78, 79 and 81a), the Variations (Op. 76, in D major), 
the Quartet (Op. 74), the Pf. Concerto in E-flat, and "l'-2 songs 
with pianoforte accompaniment, texts partly in German, partly 
in Italian, nearly all composed throughout." That among these 
songs were four others to Reissig's words ("An den fern en Gelieb- 
ten," "Der Zufriedene," "Der Jungling in der Fremde" and "Der 
Liebende"), which were not published till some years later, is a 
natural conclusion from a passage in a letter to Breitkopf and 
Hartel, dated September 11, 1810: 

That Cavalry Captain Reissig ever paid me anything for my com- 
positions is an abominable lie, I composed them for him as a friendly 
favor because he was a cripple at the time and excited my compassion. 
In writing this I declare that Breitkopf and Hartel are the sole owners 
of the songs which I have sent you, of which the words are by Cavalry 
Captain Reissig. 

In a still angrier mood he recurs to the songs again in a letter 
of October 15: 

You ought to add "ich denke dein" to this collection, I have seen it 
printed separately and somewhere in it I do not remember where, not 
having it, a wrong mordent. Another thing: you ought to publish the 
*'Gesang aus der Feme" at once if you have not already done so, the 
poetry is by that rascal Reissig, it was not published at the time and it 
took nearly half a year before this rascal told me that, as he said, he had 
had it "printed by Artaria only for his friends." I sent it to you by letter- 
post and received for it instead of thanks, stench {statt Dank Stank). 

Beethoven's longing desire for the country was not to be gra- 
tified immediately. Manager Hartl had projected a new charity, 

A Concert for the French Invaders 149 

a theatrical poor fund, and as usual called upon hini to give at- 
traction to the first public concert for its benefit, by directing one 
or more of his works. During the French occupation the ordinary 
performances of both Court Theatres were given in the Karnth- 
nerthor. At the Burg — the real Court Theatre, forming, indeed, 
a part of the Imperial residence — after being closed some weeks, 
a French company opened on the 18th of July, played for a time 
alternately with a German one, and then held — as if in bitter 
irony — exclusive possession of the stage. Was not Vienna a 
French city.^ the Burg a French palace.^ Did not Napoleon's 
eagle head the "Wiener Zeitung".? At Schonbrunn the theatre 
was devoted almost exclusively to Italian opera and ballet, for 
the amusement of the French Court. Under these circumstances 
Hartl might reasonably expect munificent support from the con- 
querors for at least one charity concert for the benefit of the 
actors and their families. Hence, as on the 8th of September 
(the Nativity of the Virgin Mary) the Court Theatres would be 
closed, he selected that day. The programme has eluded 
search; but one number was the "Sinfonia Eroica," conducted by 
its author. Was this selected, in the expectation that Napoleon 
would be present, to do him homage.'^ If so, it failed of its aim. 
The day before. Napoleon journeyed from Schonbrunn to Krems 
and Molk. Or was it in bitter sarcasm that Beethoven chose it.^^ 
An undated letter to von Collin refers to this concert. In 
it he asked the Court Secretary to rewrite a note which he had 
addressed to Beethoven when Hartl gave him the commission 
for the concert, and which he had lost. He goes on : 

I beg of you, dear Friend, to recall to mind the contents as near 
as I can recollect: "that you wrote to me that you had spoken to H. v. 
Hartl concerning a day for a concert and that then he gave you instruc- 
tions to write to me that if at this year's concert for the theatrical poor, 
I gave important tvorks for performance, and would myself conduct, I 
might at once pick out a day for a concert at the Theater-an-der-Wien, 
and that under these conditions I might have a day every year. Vive 

Give to this note the earliest date possible, still there remain 
to Beethoven less than four months to the Christmas holidays, in 
which to complete, copy and rehearse whatever new works he 
intended to produce in the concert. The Pianoforte Concerto in 
E-flat major is the only work known to have been ready; what 
others may he have had in contemplation.^ The question is, 
in itself, rather interesting than important; its bearing, however, 
upon other matters hereafter warrants its discussion at some length. 

150 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Let us turn again for a moment to the so-called "Studien." 
On the margin of the "Materialien zum Generalbass," Beethoven 
wrote: "from 101 to 1000 florins a quarter — all residents or par- 
ties to rent-contracts without distinction." This was, of course, 
written at the time of the forced contribution of June 28th, but is 
no proof that the book was then just begun. It shows merely 
that it was lying before him, offered him a convenient vacant 
space for the memorandum.^ Again on page 17, on the upper 
margin, stands: "Printer's errors in the sonata for pianoforte with 
ohhligato violoncello." This sonata, beyond all question, was the 
one dedicated to Gleichenstein, published early in April by Breit- 
kopf and Hartel, and sent to the composer before the breaking of 
post communications by the advance of Napoleon's armies. 
Now, whether Beethoven's words were merely a memorandum, or 
— as Nottebohm is of opinion — were the heading of a sheet in- 
tended to receive a list of the printer's errors — in either case we 
must suppose them to have been written immediately upon the 
composer's first examination of the printed work — at the latest 
in April. 2 

Now, it cannot be reasonably supposed that the idea of 
selecting and arranging such a series of "Studien" for the Arch- 
duke's instruction as these bound sheets contain was suddenly 
conceived and executed with no previous study nor protracted 
examination of the then existing authorities, and all during the 
few weeks when Beethoven was confined to the city. It is equally 
improbable that the Archduke's studies in the theory of music 
did not begin until after his return to Vienna (January, 1810), 
when he was 22 years of age. We can discover no objection to the 
following hypothesis as to the origin of the bound sheets in ques- 
tion; namely, that Beethoven began by making his extracts from 
Bach, Turk, etc., as they were needed in the progress of his les- 
sons; and that the execution of the task complete was an after- 
thought, arising from want of occupation at a time when he felt 
himself unfitted for original composition. The inference is, that, 
for several months, his thoughts had been more than ordinarily 
turned toward theoretical studies. 

'In view of the many indications, especially in the letters to Breitkopf and Hiirtel, 
that Beethoven did not work with any continuity from the beginning of May to the 
end of July, this memorandum assumes a different aspect and might serve to prove 
that the resumption of work on the first movement of the E-flat Concerto was not 
made till June or July, and that the entire Meinert sketchbook belongs to the period 
from July to October. 

*Xor is this longer to be maintained, since Beethoven reports these errors to 
Breitkopf and Hartel on July 26, 1809, "having had attention drawn to them by a good 

Study-Material for a Royal Pupil 151 

Now, to the question just proposed. 

In the late Gustav Fetter's Collection of Autography (in 
Vienna) is a sketchbook of Beethoven's — 148 pages in extent — 
largely devoted to studies for two works, but containing themes 
and hints for many others, with an occasional characteristic note 
or name: random, not always strictly musical. Those who have 
had occasion to study this book — the present writer included — 
have heretofore assumed, that it belongs to the year 1812. The 
correctness of this assumption must be tested. "^ 

On the first page are two measures of music — merely a suc- 
cession of chords — with this remark: "Such (passages) should 
produce another effect than the miserable enharmonic evasions 
which every school Miserabili can write, they ought to disclose the 
change to every hearer." This, though not fixing the date, does 
at least suggest the time when its writer's mind was unusually 
occupied with theoretical studies. On the same page is this: 
"Cotton in my ears at the pianoforte frees my hearing from the 
unpleasant buzzing {das unangenehme rauschendeY* — which sug- 
gests a time when his organs of hearing were still very sensitive, 
and he had not yet abandoned his pianoforte playing. Suggestions 
so vague cannot be offered as argument; but if any weight be 
granted to them, it is in favor of the winter 1808-9. Something 
more than a mere suggestion is offered on page 18. Here Beet- 
hoven has written: "Overture Macbeth, the chorus of witches 
comes in at once." Whether the succeeding sketches belong to 
this overture is a question for a musician. Now that first act of 
"Macbeth," read by Rockel in 1808, together with the first act 
of the Oratorio, "Die Befreiung Jerusalems" — both written for 
Beethoven — lay before the composer in print early in the year 
1809. Collin had inserted them in the "Hoftheater-Taschenbuch" 
of that year. The poet died in 1811, leaving both unfinished. 
To suppose that Beethoven, in 1812, gave thought to an incom- 
plete text by a deceased poet, is absurd. His memorandum is 
evidently the record of an idea which occurred to his mind on 
perusing the fragment, and determines the date of the first part 
of the sketchbook to be the beginning of 1809. Passing to the 
middle of page 22, one comes upon this: 


l; If r ir LT 


iNottebohm, "Zweite Beethoveniana," p. 188 et seq., contends that the pages 
in the so-called "Pettersches Skizzenbuch" containing the sketches for "Macbeth" 
and the D major Trio were not originally part of the book and that it dates from 1812. 
Neverthless, Thayer, who was familiar with the views divergent from his, is entitled 
to have his argument set forth as he wrote it. 


The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

With few interruptions, such as a theme for a "symphony with- 
out drums," "good triplets of another sort," the Allegretto and 
Finale of the Seventh Symphony are the subjects of the studies for 
more than forty pages. That modest gem — the theme of the 
Allegretto — is still the same throughout; but how astonishing the 
number and variety of forms for its setting, that were tested, 
before the majestic, the sublime simplicity was attained, which 
satisfied the exquisite taste of its creator! 

On page 71 begin the sketches for the first, on page 83, for 
the last movement of the Eighth Symphony. These two Sym- 
phonies, then, were the grand orchestral works in preparation for 
the proposed concert. Scattered along this part of the sketchbook 
are divers subjects for pianoforte works; as if Beethoven had in 
mind a companion piece to the E-flat Concerto for the farther 
display of his powers. In our notes we find, "Overture-Concerto," 
p. 73; p. 83 "Concerto in G" — "Concerto in G or E minor" — 
"Adagio in E-flat" — "Finale Tutti"; and near the bottom of the 
same page — "Polonaise for Pianoforte alone." But the master had 
no new vocal work for the occasion. Do not the following memo- 
randa — accompanied in the sketchbook by numerous studies — 
show how the deficiency was to be supplied.^ Immediately fol- 

lowing the 

"Polonaise" we read: 

Freude schoner Gotter Funken Tochter. Work out the overture. 

Again on leaf 43: 

Freude schoner Gotter Funken Tochter aus Elysium. Detached 
fragments, like princes are beggars, etc., not the whole. 

On the same page again: 


Detached fragments from Schiller's Freude brought together in a 

One of the sketches (according to our copy) begins thus: 



> > \ r I I i f t > 


- de. 





M ij M If M ir ^ ^ 





- ter 

At or near this point the book was for the present laid aside; 
for the intended concert was abandoned, and Beethoven's studies 
were abruptly turned in other directions. 

Music to "Egmont" Projected 153 

The explanation of this is easy. 

In the hsts of "newly performed plays" in the two Vienna 
Court Theatres from August 1, 1803 to July 31, 1805, and from 
August 1, 1806 to December 31, 1807, Schiller's name does not 
once occur; not so in the lists after Hartl's undertaking the direc- 
tion, January 1, 1808. Here we find: 

1808: February 13, "Macbeth," after Shakespeare; July 23, "Kabale 
und Liebe"; December 17, "Phaedra," after Racine; 1809: August 23, 
"Don Carlos"— all by Schiller. 

Thus had Schiller suddenly become a leading topic in the 
conversation of theatrical circles. One sees now how Collin and 
Beethoven hit upon the "Macbeth" as a subject for opera; and 
how the composer's youthful idea [see Vol. I, p. 132] of making the 
"Ode to Joy" the subject of a composition was recalled to mind. 

It does not appear from any records at hand, that either of the^> 
above-named dramas was produced with music composed for it; 
but Hartl now determined, with his next Schiller drama, to put one 
by Goethe in rehearsal and to provide both with original music. 
*'When it was decided," writes Czerny, 

to perform Schiller's "Tell" and Goethe's "Egmont" in the city theatres 
the question arose who should compose the music. Beethoven and 
Gyrowetz were chosen. Beethoven wanted very much to have "Tell." 
But a lot of intrigues were at once set on foot to have "Egmont," 
supposed to be less adaptable for music, assigned to him. It turned out, 
however, that he could make masterly music for this drama also and he 
applied the full power of his genius to it. ^ 

Perhaps Beethoven's experience with the "Ode to Joy" and 
the "Egmont" just at this time was the origin of a fine remark to 
CzQrny. "Once, when the talk was about Schiller, he said to me: 
*Schiller's poems are very difficult to set to music. The composer 
must be able to lift himself far above the poet; who can do that 
in the case of Schiller.'^ In this respect Goethe is much easier." 

The order for the immortal "Egmont" music, by presenting 
the completion of new compositions, necessarily caused the con- 
cert to be abandoned, and Beethoven was at last able to seek the 
much needed rest and recreation, both physical and mental, 
away from the city, its cares and duties. It needs scarcely to be j 
said that the condition of affairs prevented Beethoven from going 
into the country until late in the summer of 1809. 

To what "happy corner in the country," if indeed to any, he now 
retired, is not positively known. "He was often in Hungary," 

^Czerny's statements must be corrected in a few respects in view oi Beethoven's own 
statements in a letter to Breitkopf and Hartel. dated August 21, 1810. as will appear later. 

154 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

says Czerny, and there is no good reason to doubt that he went 
thither now to pass several weeks with the Brunswicks. It was 
already his practice to grant manuscript copies of his new works 
for the collection of Archduke Rudolph, whose catalogue, there- 
fore, is of the highest authority in determining their dates. 
From this source it is known that the Pianoforte Fantasia, Op. 
77, previously sketched, and the great F-sharp Pianoforte Sonata, 
Op. 78, were completed in October. The dedication of these two 
works to Count Franz and his sister Therese leads to the 
inference, that they are memorials of happy hours spent in their 
domestic circle.^ 

Beethoven himself speaks in very strong terms of his ex- 
traordinary industry during these weeks, the only probable 
explanation of which, we think, is, that he now composed or 
completed and prepared for publication several songs and minor 
pianoforte works — in part previously sketched, in part quite new. 
There are several such compositions, known to belong to this period 
of his life, although their exact date has not been ascertained. 

It is conjectured, also, that, at this time and through the in- 
fluence of Count Brunswick, Beethoven received the order for 
his other principal contributions to dramatic music. In 1808 
Emperor Franz had sanctioned the building at Pesth of "an 
entirely new grand theatre with Ridotto room, casino, restau- 
rant and coffee-house," an enterprise which, notwithstanding the 
catastrophe of 1809, it was now thought would be completed in 
1810.- It was time therefore to consider the programme for its 
opening performances, and as no living musician could give the 
occasion so much splendor as Beethoven, it was of high impor- 
tance that his consent to compose the music should be secured as 
early as possible. This, through Brunswick and other Hungarian 
friends, was no difficult task; more especially as the master had a 
work of the character required in hand — the "Egmont" music. 
Another reason for hastening the business with the composer 
may have been, that his consent or refusal must have some in- 
fluence upon the form and character of the drama or dramas, which 
were still to be written. After Beethoven's return to the Wal- 
fischgasse, his time appears still to have been exceedingly occupied 
in composition; so much so as to yield nothing eventful for a 
biographer to record. There is, however, one deeply touching 

'"The statement in the first edition, that Beethoven perhaps spent some time 
with the Brunswicks in Hungary in the summer of 1809, lacks all evidence" (says 
Dr. Riemann). 

'In their efforts in later years to sustain this theatre in brilliant style, "the 
Counts Raday and Brunswick were ruined." 

Concerned about von Breuning 155 

and interesting letter to Gleichenstein which must be copied com- 
plete. Its date is determined by these circumstances, namely: 
Poor Breuning had, in April, 1808, married Julie, the beautiful and 
highly accomplished daughter of Staff Physician von Vering. 
Less than one year thereafter the young wife, by an imprudent 
use of cold foot-baths, brought upon herself a hemorrhage of the 
lungs and died suddenly, only 19 years of age, March 21, 1809. 
The letter dates from this period: 

Dear good Gleichenstein! It is impossible for me to refrain from 
letting you know of my anxiety for Breuning's convulsive and feverish 
condition, and to beg of you that you strive to form a closer attachment 
to him or rather to bind him closer to you; the condition of my affairs 
allows me much too little opportunity to perform the high duties of friend- 
ship, I beg of you, I adjure you in the name of the good and noble senti- 
ments which you surely feel to take from me upon yourself this truly 
tormenting care, it will be particularly beneficial if you can ask him to go 
here and there with you, and (no matter how much he may seek to 
goad you to diligence) restrain him from his immoderate, and what seems 
to me unnecessary, labors. You would not believe in what an over- 
wrought state I have occasionally found him — you probably know of his 
worry of yesterday. All results of the fearful irritability, which, if he 
does not overcome it, will certainly be his ruin. 

I therefore place upon you, my dear Gleichenstein, the care of one 
of my best and most proved friends, the more since your occupation al- 
ready creates a sort of bond between you, and this you will strengthen by 
frequently showing concern for his welfare, which you can easily do in- 
asmuch as he is well disposed towards you — but your noble heart, which 
I know right well, surely needs no injunctions in respect of this; act for 
me and for your good Breuning. I embrace you with all my heart. 

It was upon finding himself in the Walfischgasse without a 
servant that Beethoven seems first to have thought of trying the 
experiment of living independently of hotels and eating-houses, 
and dining at home. It was therefore of importance to him, if 
possible, to obtain the joint service of some man and wife, and 
such a couple now offered themselves as servant and housekeeper. 
This, with the remark that the rehearsal mentioned was of the 
Lobkowitz Quartet, Op. 74, is suflficient introduction to the follow- 
ing excerpts from the Zmeskall correspondence: 

To-day comes Herzog, who wishes to become my servant for 30 fl., 
you may negotiate with him with his wife ohligato — wood, candles, no livery 
— I must have somebody to cook, as long as the present wretched food 
continues I shall remain ill — to-day I eat at home, because of the better 
wine, if you will order what you want, I should be glad to have you come 
to me also, you will get the wine gratis and better than that at the beastly 

Here comes Herzog with his wife — listen to their condescension — 
she will cook when I want her to — also mend, etc., for this is a highly 

156 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

important matter — I will come to you afterward in order to hear the 
result — perhaps it would be best to ask what ser\'ice they are going to 
perform for me? 

Shakespeare's clowns in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 
have enriched theatrical speech with "lamentable comedy" and 
"very tragical mirth"; phrases not inappropriate to the domestic 
dramas in which Beethoven and his servants were the actors, and 
which he made the subjects of numberless Jeremiads both in 
conversation and in letters to his friends — especially to Zmeskall 
and Mme. Streicher. As one example — and surely one is enough — 
take the case of the Herzogs. They were engaged and were still 
in Beethoven's employ when the departure of Napoleon and his 
armies enabled those belonging to the public service to return and 
resume their duties in the Capital — Zmeskall among them. As 
in the spring he had to accommodate himself to "peace negotiations" 
between Beethoven and his servant, so now he must again offi- 
ciate in this "glorious office" between him and the Herzogs. 
The imagination can readily form a lively and correct picture of 
Beethoven's troubles, partly serious, partly tragi-comic, with these 
people, during that wretched summer, shut up in the city, all the 
necessaries of life at famine prices, and they on his hands to be 
provided for. The situation certainly was not one fitted to 
sweeten the temper of either party; no doubt both had good cause 
of complaint. We have, however, only the master's side of the 
question and not the whole of that. One who invariably has 
trouble with his servants must sometimes himself be in fault; so, 
perhaps, the Herzogs were not such "very bad people" after all. 

His friend Clement of the Theater-an-der-Wien gave Beethoven 
a pleasing compliment by reproducing in his annual concert 
(December 24) the "Christus am Olberg." On the same evening, 
by the way, Dobenz's oratorio, "Die Siindfluth," with music by 
Kauer, was sung at the Leopoldstadt Theatre, as it would seem, 
from the sarcastic notice in the "Allg. Mus. Zeit.," with appro- 
priate scenery! If Beethoven heard it, which is doubtful unless 
at rehearsal, he found he had little reason to mourn his non- 
acceptance of that text. 

Negotiations had been resumed about this time between 
George Thomson of Edinburgh and Beethoven, touching the ar- 
rangement of national melodies. In a letter dated September 25, 

Arrangements of Welsh and Irish Songs 157 

1809, Thomson sent Beethoven 43 Welsh and Irish melodies with 
the request to provide them as soon as possible with ritornellos 
and accompaniments for pianoforte or pedal harp, and violin or 
violoncello, and held out the promise of 100 ducats, Vienna 
standard, or even more as payment. Besides this, Thomson had 
requested him to write three quintets, two for two violins, viola, 
flute and violoncello, one without flute but two violas instead 
(with bassoon or double-bass ad lib.), and also three sonatas for 
pianoforte and violin. For these works he offered him 120 ducats 
Vienna standard. "I make you this offer," said Thomson, "more 
to show you my taste and predilection for your music than in the 
hope to profit by the publication."^ To this proposition Beet- 
hoven replied as follows — in French and his own wretched hand, 
under date of November 23, 1809: 

I will compose the ritornellos to the 43 little songs, but I ask 10 
pounds or 20 ducats de Vienne more than you offer, that is instead of 
50 pounds Sterling, or 100 ducats V. S. I ask 60 pounds Sterling or 120 
ducats V. S. This work, moreover, is of a kind that gives a composer 
but little pleasure, but I shall nevertheless always be ready to oblige you 
since I know that you can do a good business with it. As regards the 
quintets and the three sonatas, I find the honorarium too little for me — I 
ask of you for them the sum of 120, i. e., one hundred and twenty pounds 
Sterling or two hundred and forty ducats V. S., you offered me 60 pounds 
Sterling and it is impossible for me to gratify you for such an honorarium 
— we are living here in a time when a frightful price is asked for every- 
thing, we are paying almost three times as much as formerly — but if you 
are agreed with the sums that I ask I will serve you with pleasure. So 
far as the publication of the works here in Germany is concerned, I 
think that I would bind myself not to publish them sooner than after 
seven or eight months if you tliink this time long enough for your pur- 
poses. As regards the double-bass or bassoon I wish that you would give 
me a free hand, I may, perhaps find something that will be even more 
agreeable to you — also we might use a bassoon or other wind-instruraent 
with the flute and write only the third quintet for two violins, two violas 
and violoncello, since in this way the style would be purer. In short, 
rest assured that you are dealing with a true artist who, indeed, likes to 
be decently paid, but who loves fame and also the fame of art more — and 
who is never satisfied with himself and is always striving to make greater 
progress in his art. 

As regards the songs I have already begun them and will deliver 
them in about a week to Fries — therefore please send me an answer soon, 
my dear sir. 

Next time please send me the words of the songs along with them 
as it is very necessary for me to have them in order to get the correct 
expression — they will be translated for me. 

^See the entire correspondence between Beethoven and Thomson in the appendix 
to the original edition of this biography. 

158 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

September came and still no payment from Clementi and Co. 
for the works bought by them in April, 1807. Clementi was in 
Rome and thither, it would seem, Beethoven sent several letters 
asking for payment. Clementi now came to Vienna and sent a 
letter to his London partner, Collard, which, though dateless as to 
year and day, was, no doubt, the result of Beethoven's importunities. 
In it he complains of having written five or six letters to them for 
money with which to meet Beethoven's demands, the composer 
having "plagued" him with several letters — but in vain. At 
last a firm of Viennese bankers informs him that a credit for £400 
has been sent him, but no letter. He concludes that of this sum 
£100 are meant for Beethoven and £300 for himself, and that 
they had received but half of Beethoven's manuscripts. "A most 
shabby figure you have made me cut in this affair ! — and that with 
one of the first composers of the day! You certainly might have 
found means in the course of two years and a half to have 
satisfied his demands. Don't lose a moment and send me word 
what you have received from him, that I may settle with him." 

Towards the end of the year Beethoven took ill, as he informs 
Breitkopf and Hartel in a letter which was dated December 4 (but 
from which the figure was stricken; the letter may have been 
delayed or Beethoven become doubtful, as usual, about the day of 
the month). In this he writes: "A fever which shook me up 
thoroughly, prevented me from sending these tardily found errata 
[in the two Trios] at once." On January 2, 1810, he writes an- 
other letter which begins: "Scarcely recovered — my illness threw 
me back again for two weeks — is it a wonder — we have not even 
eatable bread," concluding with: "I am too weak to-day to answer 
your kind letter more fully, but in a few days touching every- 
thing else in vour letter." 

Beethoven had now entered his fortieth year, a year which 
forms a marked and striking era in his life, but of which the most 
important event is veiled in all the obscurity with which the care 
and efforts of the parties concerned could envelop it. In the 
hope of a solution, at least probable, of the mystery which it 
presents, many minutiae of the years 1807-09 have been re- 
served to be presented consecutively, since only thus can their 
relations to and their bearings upon the problem before us be well 
understood. The next chapter must, therefore, be but an intro- 
duction to the history of the year 1810. 

The compositions and publications of this year remain to 
be enumerated — a task of some difficulty, requiring a prelim- 
inary remark or two. The great cost of living and the various 

Beethoven in Financial Straits 159 

extraordinary demands upon his purse this year, deranged Beet- 
hoven's pecuniary affairs seriously; from the same cause the Vienna 
publishers were not in a condition to pay him adequately and in 
advance for his manuscripts. The dilatoriness of the London 
publishers has just been mentioned. Happily his relations with 
Breitkopf and Hartel were such, that they were ready to re- 
munerate him handsomely for whatever new compositions he 
might send them; and there seems to have been an arrangement 
made, under which divers new works of this period were published 
simultaneously by them in Leipsic and by Artaria in Vienna. 
Nevertheless, Beethoven was pressed for money, not only from 
the causes above stated, but from the need of an extra supply, in 
case the project of marriage, now in his mind, should be effected. 
Of course he counted with certainty upon the regular payment of 
his annuity, now that the war was over, and a lasting peace ap- 
parently secured by the rumored union between Napoleon and 
Archduchess Marie Louise. But a semi-annual payment of this 
annuity was far from suflBcient to meet the expenses of establish- 
ing himself as a married man. Now that his concert was aban- 
doned, no immediate profit could arise from the completion of the 
new symphonies; nor was there any immediate need of his begin- 
ning the "Egmont" music. It is obvious, therefore, that his labors, 
during the "several weeks in succession" when he worked "so that 
it seemed rather for death than immortality," were, as before 
said, the completion and correction for the press of various more 
or less important works existing in the sketchbooks, and the com- 
position of divers smaller pieces, such as would meet with a ready 
sale, and hence be promptly and liberally paid for by publishers. 
It is not at all surprising to find among them a number of songs 
the texts of which were apt expressions of his feelings at this junc- 
ture. Such considerations render it extremely probable, perhaps 
certain, that a larger number of minor productions belong by 
date of completion to this year, than they, who have endeavored 
to ascertain the chronology of Beethoven's works, have hereto- 
fore suspected. But the following list contains only works of 
which the date is certain — or probable almost to certainty. 
Compositions of 1809: 

1. Concerto for Pianoforte, E-flat major. Op. 73. 

2. "Quartette per due Violini, Viola e Violoncello, da Luigi van 
Beethoven, 1809," Op. 74, E-flat major. 

3. Sonata for Pianoforte: "Das Lebewohl, Wien am 4ten Mai 
1809," etc. ; "Die Abwesenheit. Die Ankunft des . . . Erzh. Rudolph, den 
30. Janner 1810," Op. 81a, E-flat. We suppose the sonata to have 
been completed in 1809, and ready for presentation to the Archduke 

160 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

upon his return; but as this was delayed until January 30th, "Die 
Ankunft," of course, took this date. 

4. March in F major for Military Band. "For the Bohemian 
Landwehr, 1809"; also inscribed by Beethoven: "For His Royal Highness, 
the Archduke Anton, 1809." 

5. Variations for the Pianoforte, D major, Op. 76. 

6. Fantasia for Pianoforte, G major, Op. 77. 

7. Sonata for Pianoforte, F-sharp major. Op. 78. 

8. Sonatina for Pianoforte, G major. Op. 79. 

9. Songs from "Bliimchen der Einsamkeit" by C. L. Reisslg: 

(a) "An den fernen Geliebten." A copy bears the words in 

Beethoven's hand: "Fifth song," "1809," and correc- 
tions in the song itself. Op. 75, No. 5. 

(b) "Der Zufriedene," Op. 75, No. 6. 

(c) "Lied aus der Feme," "1809." 

(d) "Der Liebende." 

(e) "Der Jungling in der Fremde." 

10. Other Songs: 

(a) "Gretel's Warnung." A copy bears the words in Beet- 

hoven's hand: "Fourth song," "1809," and corrections 
in the song itself. 

(b) "Andenken," by Matthison. 

(c) "Die laute Klage," by Herder. 

(d) "L'amante impaziente," "1809"; and probably all the 

numbers of 

(e) "Four Ariettas and a Duet," Op. 82. 

* * 


The first sketches for the Fifth Pianoforte Concerto, E-flat, 
Op. 73, dedicated to Archduke Rudolph, are found in the so-called 
Grasnick sketchbook after the sketches for the Choral Fantasia as 
it was performed for the first time on December 2*2, 1808, and the 
pianoforte introduction to the same which, as we have seen, is of a 
later date ("Zweite Beethoveniana," p. 495 et seq.). It is mentioned 
by Beethoven in the correspondence with his publishers for the 
first time on February 4, 1810. It was in their hands on August 
21 of that year, when Beethoven prescribed the dedication to his 
distinguished pupil, and was published in February, 1811. The 
Concerto had then already been played in public by Johann 
Schneider with brilliant success toward the close of 1810, and, as 
the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." reported, put a numerous audience into 
such "a state of enthusiasm that it could hardly content itself 
with the ordinary expressions of recognition and enjoyment." 

The E-flat Quartet, Op. 74 (the so-called "Harp Quartet"), 
dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz, was written simultaneous! v with 
the Concerto and Pianoforte Sonata in the same key. Beethoven 

The Composer's Work in 1809 161 

was evidently hard at work on them when he wrote to Breitkopf 
and Hartel on "Weinmonath" [October] 1908": "Next time about 
the quartet which I am writing — I do not hke to occupy myself 
with solo sonatas for the pianoforte, but I promise you a few.'* 
Nottebohm says ("Zweite Beethoveniana," p. 91), that the four 
movements of the Quartet were begun and finished in the order 
in which they appeared in print. According to a note by Arch- 
duke Rudolph, the Fantasia, Op. 77, was composed in October. 
The three Pianoforte Sonatas, Op. 78, 79 and 81a, are closely con- 
nected in time, notwithstanding their diversity of sentiment. 
Sketches for Op. 78 have not been found, but those for the other 
two are in the sketchbook of Carl Meinert ("Zweite Beethoven- 
iana," p. 255), which ends with the sketches for the Fantasia, Op. 77, 
composed for Count Franz von Brunswick; and it is likely that 
the Sonata, Op. 78, dedicated to Countess Therese von Brunswick, 
was conceived and written immediately after the Fantasia (in 
October). The three sonatas were doubtless in the mind of 
Beethoven when he promised Breitkopf and Hartel "a few" on 
October 19. On February 4, 1810, he offers to the publishers 
"three pianoforte solo sonatas — N.B., of which the third is composed 
of three movements. Parting, Absence and Return, and would 
have to be published alone." On August 21, 1810, Beethoven 
wrote about the dedication: "The sonata in F-sharp major — A 
Madame la Comtesse Therese de Brunswick; the fantasia for piano- 
forte solo — .4 vion ami Monsieur le comte Frangois de Brunswick — 
as regards the two sonatas publish them separately, or, if you want 
to publish them together, inscribe the one in G major Sonata 
facile or sonatina, which you might also do in case you [do not] 
publish them together." Breitkopf and Hartel published the 
sonatas separately and Op. 79 therefore received no dedication. 
The notion, once current, that Op. 79 (sometimes called the 
"Cuckoo Sonata") was an older work, is disproved by the sketches 
of 1809 (Nottebohm, "Zweit. Beeth.," p. 269). ^The E-flat Sonata, 
Op. 81a, seems to have been completely sketched before October 
and held in readiness against the return of the Archduke, as has 
been said. Breitkopf and Hartel pubHshed it in the fall of 1811, 
without either dates or dedication and with the French title: 
"Les Adieux, I'Absence et le Retour," much to Beethoven's dis- 
satisfaction. The Variations in D, dedicated "to his friend" 
Oliva, anticipate by two years the use of the same theme as a 
Turkish march in the incidental music which Beethoven wrote for 
Kotzebue's "Ruins of Athens." Nottebohm ("Zweit. Beeth." 
p. 272, foot-note) says of it: "Tradition has it that the theme is a 

162 The Life of Ludwig vax Beethoven 

Russian melody. This is improbable and incapable of proof. 
The theme is not to be found in any collection of Russian melodies 
known to us. Had Beethoven borrowed the theme he would, as 
he always did, have mentioned the fact in connection with the 
Variations and the 'Ruins of Athens' (a singular idea to use a 
Russian melody for a Turkish march!). It may be that a Russian 
folktune which was popular in Vienna between 1810 and 1820, 
which bears some resemblance to this melody and on which, be- 
sides Gelinek and others, Beethoven too made Variations (Op. 
107, No. 3), gave rise to the confounding of the two." The 
Military March in F was designed for Archduke Anton and was 
chosen for a "carrousel" at the court at Laxenburg. It is the 
"horse music" of Beethoven's correspondence with Archduke 
Rudolph. The year also saw the beginning of the arrangements 
of the Irish melodies for Thomson. 

The publications of the year 1809 were: 

1. The Fourth Symphony, in B-flat, Op. 60. "Dediee a Monsieur 
le Comte Oppersdorff"; published in March by the Kunst- und Industrie- 

2. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, D major, Op. 61. Dediee 
a son ami Monsieur de Breuning, Secretaire aidique, etc. Vienna, Kunst- 
und Industrie-Comptoir, in March. 

3. Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello. A major, Op. 69. 
Dediee a Monsieur de Gleichenstein. Leipsic, Breitkopf and Hartel, 
in April. 

4. Two Trios for Pianoforte, Violin and Violoncello, D major, 
E-flat, Op. 70. Dedies a Madame la Comtesse Marie d'Erdody nee Com- 
tesse Niszky. Breitkopf and Hartel, No. 1 in April, No. 2 in August. 

5. Fifth Symphony, in C minor, Op. 67. Dediee a son Altesse 
Serenissime Monseigneur le Prince regnant de Lobkowitz, Due de Raudnitz, 
et a son Excellence Monsieur le Comte de Rasoumoffsky. Breitkopf and 
Hartel, in April. 

6. Sixth Symphony (Sinfonia pastorale), F major, Op. 68. The 
same dedication as the Fifth Symphony. Breitkopf and Hartel, in Maj'. 

7. Song: "Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte." Supplement 
No. II, to the "Allg. Mus. Zeit.," November 22. Breitkopf and Hartel. 

Chapter IX 

The Years 1807-09— A Retrospect— Beethoven's Intellectual 
Attainments — Interest in Exotic Literatures — His Re- 

A POPULAR conception of Beethoven's character, namely, 
that a predisposition to gloom and melancholy formed its 
basis, appears to the present writer to be a grave mistake. 
The question is not what he became in later years — tempora 
mutantur et nos mutamur in illis — but what was the normal con- 
stitution of his mind in this regard. Exaggerated reports of his 
sadness and infelicity during the last third of his life became 
current even before its close, and prepared the public to give 
undue importance to the melancholy letters and papers of earlier 
years, which from time to time were exhumed and published. 
The reader upon examination will be surprised to find how few 
in number they are, at what wide intervals they were written, 
and how easy it is to account for their tone. 

Beethoven's childhood was excessively laborious, though 
not so cheerless as has been represented; and, however flattering 
to occupy at the age of twelve years the place of a man in theatre 
and chapel, his boyhood could not have been a happy one. His 
brightest days up to the middle of his seventeenth year were 
undoubtedly those spent in Vienna in 1787 — the date of the ear- 
liest of those papers from his own pen, on which the popular 
conception of his character is founded. But the letter to Dr. 
Schaden, written to explain and excuse the non-payment of a 
debt, takes its tone, not from any predisposition to gloom and 
melancholy, but from the manifold troubles which just then be- 
set him — the bitter disappointment of his sudden recall from 
Vienna; the death of his mother; the hopeless poverty of his 
family; hence, the pangs of wounded pride and self-respect; the 
depression of spirits caused by asthmatic maladies, and his utter 
hopelessness of any timely change for the better, such as, in fact, 
one short year was to bring. 

[ 163 1 

164 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

It is clear that Beethoven's character could not develop 
itself normally, until he had become to a considerable degree in- 
dependent of his father; and, consequently, that certain pecu- 
liarities related of him in his boyhood were probably less the 
results of his natural tendencies than the consequence of these 
being checked and obstructed by adverse circumstances. Soon 
after the letter to Dr. Schaden came the turning-point in the boy's 
fortunes. Beethoven was now substantially emancipated from 
his father; his talents opened to him a higher and finer-toned 
circle of society; a love for the best literature was cherished, if not 
created; and no long time elapsed before his father's increasing 
moral infirmities made him virtually the head of the family. The 
nobler qualities of his head and heart now received a culture im- 
possible before. At last his character could and did develop 
itself normally. In all the following fourteen years — during which 
the boy organist of Bonn rises step by step to the position of first 
of pianists and most promising of the young composers in Vienna — 
one seeks in vain for any trace of the assumed constitutional ten- 
dency to melancholy. Now come the pathetic letters to Wegeler 
and the "Testament" of 1802 — dark, gloomy, despondent. But 
these were all written under the first pressure of a malady which, 
he justly foreboded, would in time unfit him for general society 
and debar him from every field of the musician's activity and 
ambition save that of composition. It is perhaps worthy of 
remark, that among the well-known phenomena of mental action 
are the intellectual prostration and the consequent depression of 
spirits which follow the completion of any great work in litera- 
ture or art that has been for some time engrossing the attention, 
absorbing the thoughts and straining the faculties; and that the 
"Testament" of 1802 belongs in the precise period of reaction 
after completing that first of his great works, the Second Sym- 
phony. The "Testament" is indeed a cry of agony; but, in the 
paroxysms of intense physical suffering, cries of agony are not 
proofs of a naturally weak or defective constitution of the body; 
that sort of patient suffers less — but dies. Had Beethoven's 
temperament really been of the gloomy and melancholy cast sup- 
posed, suicide, insanity or — through seeking temporary allevia- 
tion of mental suffering in sensual indulgences — moral ship- 
wreck would soon have ended his career. "Strength is the mo- 
rality of men who distinguish themselves above others, and it is 
also mine," he wrote to his "Dearest Baron Muck Carter": — 
"Beethoven was, in fact, the personification of strength," said the 
aged poet Castelli to the present writer. The thought of suicide 

A Happy Period in the Composer's Life 165 

is alluded to in both the "Testament" and the letter to Wegeler; 
but with him the "To be or not to be?" was only a momentary, 
a passing, question; not because "conscience does make cowards 
of us all," but by reason of innate manliness to bear "the slings 
and arrows of outrageous fortune" with courage and fortitude, 
until time and patience should bring resignation. How bravely 
he sustained his heavy burden to the end of 1806, has been amply 
recorded in this work. The famous love-letter affords its own 
sufficient explanation of whatever degree of melancholy it ex- 
hibits in the bitterness of parting and separation — the wretched 
life in Vienna, the uncertainty of his pecuniary resources, the 
impossibility of marriage without some decided change for the 
better in his condition and prospects. When, a few months 
later, the question of the possession of the theatres was decided 
against Braun, Beethoven had reason to hope that this change 
was assured; since the position of Lobkowitz, both socially and in 
connection with the theatres, gave to his hint, that the composer 
should apply for a permanent engagement, almost the force of a 
promise that he should receive it. In view of Beethoven's ab- 
horrence of all restrictions on his personal freedom, it is by no 
means certain that the final non-acceptance of his proposals 
caused him any very severe and lasting disappointment. 

Whether so or not, and notwithstanding the prolonged 
uncertainty of his future prospects and the occasional charac- 
teristic complaints in his letters, s till these three _years:— 1807-8-9 
— were unquestionably the happiest in the lasOialf of his life. 
That it was a period of extraordinary activity and productive- 
ness, of a corresponding augmentation and extension of his 
fame, of animated and joyous social intercourse, and was brightly 
tinted with so much of the romance of love as a man of middle- 
age is apt to indulge in — all this the reader knows. 

The coming of Reichardt to Vienna and the recording of his 
observations on the musical life of the Austrian capital in his 
book entitled "Confidential Letters, etc.," were fortunate inci- 
dents for the lovers of Beethoven. Reichardt's was one of the 
great names in music. He stood in the front rank both as com- 
poser and writer on the art. His personal character was un- 
spotted; his intellectual powers great and highly cultivated in 
other fields than music; nor had his dismissal from his position of 
Royal Chapelmaster by Frederick W'illiam II been founded upon 
reasons which injured his reputation abroad. He therefore 
found all, even the highest, musical salons of Vienna open to him, 
and he received attention which under the circumstances was 

166 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

doubly grateful. A colossal self-esteem, a vanity almost boundless 
alone could have sent such pages as his "Letters" to the press 
without a more thorough expurgation. But this is nothing to the 
present generation, which owes him a large debt of gratitude for 
the most lively and complete picture existing of the musical life 
at Vienna at that period, and especially for his notices of Beethoven, 
the date of which (winter of 1808-09) adds doubly to their value. 
They should be read in connection with this biography. ^ 

And here a word upon the compositions of these years. 
The notion, that the beauties of the opera "Leonore" were in 
great measure the offspring of an old, unfortunate affection for 
Fraulein von Breuning and of a still more unlucky recent passion for 
Julia Guicciardi, was treated in its place as unworthy of serious 
refutation; but nowhere in this work has anything been said affirm- 
ing or implying that the moral and mental condition of the man 
Beethoven would not produce its natural and legitimate effect 
upon Beethoven the composer. Now, examine the lists of compo- 
sitions which terminate the preceding^ chapters, and say whether 
any but a strong, healthy, sound, elastic mind could have pro- 
duced them? To specify only the very greatest; there are in the 
last months of 1806, after the visit to the Brunswicks, the placid 
and serene Fourth Symphony — the most perfect in form of them 
all — and the noble Violin Concerto; in 1807, the Mass in C and the 
C minor Symphony; in 1808, the "Pastoral" Symphony and the 
Choral Fantasia; and in 1809, the conception and partial execu- 
tion of the Seventh, perhaps also the Eighth, Symphony and the 
glorious "Egmont" music. 

Are such the works of a melancholy, gloomy temperament or 
of a forlorn, sentimental lover, sighing like a furnace and making 
"a woeful ballad to his mistress' eyebrow.'^" 

Beethoven, during the fifteen years since Wegeler's vain effort to 
induce him to attend lectures on Kant, had become to some con- 
siderable degree a self-taught man ; he had read and studied much, 
and had acquired a knowledge of the ordinary literary topics of the 
time, which justified that fine passage in the letter to Breitkopf and 
Hartel, touching his abihty to acquire knowledge from even the 
most learned treatises. Strikingly in point is the interest which 
he exhibits during these and following years in the Oriental re- 
searches of Hammer and his associates. His notes and excerpts 

'See Reichardl's "Vertraute Briefe, geschrieben auf einer Reise nach Wien und 
den Osterreichischen Staaten zu Ende das Jahres 1808 und zu Anfang 1809," under 
date November 30, December 5, December 10, December 16, December 25, December 
SI, 1808, and January 15, March 6, March 27 and Xo. 37 (without date), 1809. 

Appreciation of Serious Literature 167 

prove a very extensive knowledge of their translations, both pub- 
lished and in manuscript; and, moreover, that this strange litera- 
ture was perhaps even more attractive to him in its religious, 
than in its lyric and dramatic aspects. In these excerpts — indeed, 
generally in extracts from books and in his underscoring of favorite 
passages in them — Beethoven exhibits a keen perception and taste 
for the lofty and sublime, far beyond the grasp of any common or 
uncultivated mind. "The moral law in us and the starry heavens 
above us. Kant! ! !" is one of the brief notes from his hand, which 
now and then enliven the tedious and thankless task of decipher- 
ing the Conversation Books. The following, given here from his 
own manuscript, is perhaps the finest of his transcriptions from 
Hindu literature: 

God is immaterial; since he is invisible he can have no form, but 
from what we observe in his works we may conclude that he is eternal, 
omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent — The mighty one is he who is 
free from all desire; he alone; there is no greater than he. 

Brahma; his spirit is enwrapped in himself. He, the mighty one, 
is present in every part of space — his omniscience is in spirit by himself 
and the conception of him comprehends every other one; of all com- 
prehensive attributes that of omniscience is the greatest. For it there is 
no threefold existence. It is independent of everything. O God, thou art 
the true, eternal, blessed, immutable hght of all times and all spaces. 
Thy wisdom embraces thousands upon thousands of laws, and yet thou 
dost always act freely and for thy honor. Thou wert before all that we 
revere. To thee be praise and adoration. Thou alone art the truly 
blessed one (Bhagavan); thou, the essence of all laws, the image of all 
wisdom, present throughout the universe, thou upholdest all things. 

Sun, ether, Brahma [these words are crossed out]. 

Beethoven's enjoyment of Persian literature as revealed to 
him in the translations and essays of Herder and von Hammer 
will now readily be conceived by the reader; as also the delight 
with which he read that collection of exquisite imitations of Per- 
sian poetry with its long series of (then) fresh notices of the man- 
ners, customs, books and authors of Persia, which some years 
later Goethe published with the title "West-Ostlicher Divan." 
Even that long essay, apparently so out of place in the work — 
"Israel in der Wiiste" — in which the character of Moses is handled 
so unmercifully, was upon a topic already of curious interest to 
Beethoven. This appears from one of his copied papers — one 
which, as Schindler avers, "he considered to be the sum of the 
loftiest and purest religion." The history of this paper is this: 
; The Hebrew chronicler describes the great lawgiver of his nation 
as being "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." This 
leads Schiller, in his fine essay on "Die Sendung Moses," into a 

168 The Life of Ludwig vax Beethoven 

discussion of the nature and character of this wisdom. The 
following sentences are from his account: 

The epoptse (Egj'ptian priests) recognized a single, highest cause of 
all things, a primeval force, natural force, the essence of all essences, 
which was the same as the demiurgos of the Greek philosophers. There 
is nothing more elevated than the simple grandeur with which they spoke 
of the creator of the universe. In order to distinguish him the more 
emphatically they gave him no name. A name, said they, is only a need 
for pointing a difference; he who is only, has no need of a name, for there 
is no one with whom he could be confounded. Under an ancient monu- 
ment of Isis were to be read the words: 'T AM THAT WHICH IS,"and 
upon a pyramid at Sais the strange primeval inscription: 'T AM ALL, 
HAS EVER LIFTED MY VEIL." No one was permitted to enter 
the temple of Serapis who did not bear upon his breast or forehead the 
name lao, or I-ha-ho — a name similar in sound to the Hebrew Jehovah 
and in all likelihood of the same meaning; and no name was uttered with 
greater reverence in Egj'pt than this name lao. In the hymn which the 
hierophant, or guardian of the sanctuary, sang to the candidate for ini- 
tiation, this was the first division in the instruction concerning the nature 

The sentences here printed in capital letters "Beethoven 
copied with his own hand and kept (them), framed and under glass, 
always before him on his writing-table." 

Beethoven was now at an age when men of thoughtful and 
independent minds have settled opinions on such important sub- 
jects as have received their attention, among which, to all men, 
religion stands preeminent. Few change their faith after forty; 
there is no reason to suppose that Beethoven did; no place, there- 
fore, more fit than this will be found to remark upon a topic to 
which the preceding pages directly lead — his religious views. 
Schindler writes in the appendix to his biography of Beethoven: 

Beethoven was brought up in the Catholic religion. That he was 
truly religious is proved by his whole life, and many evidences were 
brought forward in the biographical part (of this work). It was one of 
his peculiarities that he never spoke on religious topics or concerning the 
dogmas of the various Christian churches in order to give his opinion 
about them. It may be said with considerable certainty, however, that 
his religious views rested less upon the creed of the church, than that 
they had their origin in deism. Without having a manufactured theory 
before him he plainly recognized the existence of God in the world as well 
as the world in God. This theory he found in the whole of Nature, and 
his guides seem to have been the oft-mentioned book. Christian Sturm's 
"Betrachtungen der Werke Gottes in der Natur," and tlie philosophical 
systems of the Greek wi.s<3 men. It would be diflScult for anybody to 

The Composer's Attitude towards the Church 169 

assert the contrary, who had seen how he appHed the contents of those 
writings in his own internal Hfe. 

As an argument against Schindler and to prove Beethoven's 
orthodoxy in respect to the Roman Catholic tenets, the fervid 
sentiment and sublime devotion expressed in the music of the 
"Missa Solemnis" have been urged; but the words of the Mass 
were simply a text on which he could lavish all the resources of his 
art in the expression of his religious feelings. It should not be 
forgotten that the only Mass which can be ranked with Beethoven's 
in D, was the composition of the sturdy Lutheran, J. S. Bach, and 
that the great epic poem of trinitarian Christianity was by the 
Arian, John Milton. Perhaps Schindler would have his readers 
understand more than is clearly expressed. If he means, that 
Beethoven rejected the trinitarian dogma; that the Deity of his 
faith is a personal God, a universal Father, to whom his human 
children may hopefully appeal for mercy in time of temptation, for 
aid in time of need, for consolation in time of sorrow — if this be 
Schindler's "deism," it may be affirmed unhesitatingly, that 
everything known to the present writer, which bears at all on the 
subject, confirms his view. Beethoven had the habit in moments 
of temptation and distress, of writing down short prayers for 
divine support and assistance, many of which are preserved; but 
neither in them, nor in any of his memoranda or conversations, is 
there the remotest indication that he believed in the necessity of 
any mediator between the soul of man and the Divine Father, 
under whatsoever name known — priest, prophet, saint, virgin or 
Messiah; but an even stronger religious sentiment, a more ardent 
spirit of devotion, a firmer reliance on the goodness and mercy 
of God are revealed in them, than Schindler seems to have 

Chapter X 

The Year 1810 — Decrease in Productivity — Beethoven's Pro- 
ject of Marriage — Therese Malfatti — Bettina von Arnim 
and Her Correspondence with Goethe — The Music to 
"Egmont" — Productions of the Year. 


THE topics last under notice have carried us far onward, 
even to the last years of Beethoven. We now return to the 
end of 1809 — to the master in the full vigor and maturity 
of his powers. The last months of this year had been marked by 
an untiring and efficient industry; his sketchbooks abounded in 
the noblest themes, hints and protracted studies for orchestral, 
chamber and vocal compositions; and several important works — 
among them the Seventh Symphony — were well advanced. The 
princes, whose generosity had just placed him, for the present at 
least, beyond the reach of pecuniary anxieties, may well have ex- 
pected the immediate fulfillment of "the desire that he surpass 
the great expectations which are justified by his past achieve- 
ments." They were bitterly disappointed. Kinsky did not live 
to hear any new orchestral work from that recently so prolific 
pen; Lobkowitz, whose dissatisfaction is upon record, heard but 
three; while the Archduke saw the years pass away comparatively 
fruitless, hardly more being accomplished in ten, than formerly in 
two — the marvellous year 1814 excepted. The close of 1809 ter- 
minated a decade (1800-1809) during which — if quality be con- 
sidered, as well as number, variety, extent and originality — 
Beethoven's works offer a more splendid exhibition of intellectual 
power than those of any other composer produced within a like 
term of years; and New Year, 1810, began another (1810-19), 
which, compared with the preceding, exhibits an astonishing de- 
crease in the composer's productiveness. The contrast is rendered 
more striking by the fact that many of the principal works com- 
pleted in the second decade belong in plan and partly in execution 
to the first. 

[ 170] 

First Perfor^lynce of the *'Egmont" Music 171 

Schindler's division of Beethoven's life into three distinctly 
marked periods appears forced — rather fanciful than real; but 
whoever makes himself even moderately conversant with the 
subject, soon perceives that a change in the man did take place 
too great and sudden to be attributed to the ordinary effect of 
advancing years; but when? The abrupt pause in his triumphant 
career as composer just mentioned, would seem to determine the 
time; and, if so, the natural inference is, that both were effects of the 
same cause. There was a point in the life of Handel when his 
indefatigable pen dropped from his hand and many weary months 
passed before he could resume it. The failure of his operas, his 
diastrous theatrical speculation, consequent bankruptcy, and the 
culmination of his distresses in a partial paralysis of his physical 
powers, were the causes. The cessation of Beethoven's labors, 
though less absolute than in Handel's case, is even more remarkable, 
as it continued longer and was not produced by any such natural 
and obvious causes. The fact is certain, and will probably find a 
sufficient explanation when we come to the details of the master's 
private history during this period; if not, it is another question the 
solution of which must await the accident of time or the keener 
penetration and wider knowledge of some other investigator. 

Beethoven's studies were now, for the third time, diverted \ 
from important works in hand to an order from the directors of 
the theatres — the "Egmont" music. The persevering diligence of 
the last months, of which he speaks in his letters, was evidently 
for the purpose of clearing his desk of a mass of manuscript 
compositions sold to Breitkopf and Hartel, before attacking 
Goethe's tragedy — as decks are cleared for action before a naval 
battle. If so, he could hardly have seriously engaged upon the 
"Egmont" before the new year; but nothing is known, which 
fixes the exact date of either the beginning or completion of the 
work. Its overture bears the composer's own date "1810"; its 
first performance was on the evening of Thursday, May 24. 
The Cldrchen was played by Anionic Adamberger — a young 
actress alike distinguished for her beauty, her genius and her 
virtues — whose marriage in 1817 to the distinguished archaeolo- 
gist von Arneth was a distinct loss to the Vienna stage. The 
two songs which Cldrchen has to sing, necessarily brought Frau- 
lein Adamberger for the moment into personal relations with 
Beethoven, of which she wrote to the present author the follow- 
ing simple and pleasing account under date January 5, 1867: 

.... I approached him (Beethoven) without embarrassment when my 
aunt of blessed memory, my teacher and benefactress, called me to her 

172 The Life of Ludwig vax Beethoven 

room and presented me to him. To his question: "Can you sing?" I 
rephed without embarrassment \s4th a decided "No!" Beethoven re- 
garded me with amazement and said laughingly: "No? But I am to com- 
pose the songs in 'Egmont' for you." I answered very simply that I 
had sung only four months and had then ceased because of hoarseness 
and the fear that continued exertion in the practice of declamation might 
injure my voice. Then he said jovially with an adoption of the Viennese 
dialect: "That will be a pretty how do you do!" — but on his part it 
turned out to be something glorious. 

We went to the pianoforte and rummaging around in my music .... 
he found on top of the pile the well-known rondo with recitative from 
Zingarelli's "Romeo and Juliet." "Do you sing that?'' he asked with a 
laugh which shook him as he sat down hesitatingly to play the accom- 
paniment. Just as innocently and unsuspiciously as I had chatted with 
him and laughed, I now reeled off the air. Then a kind look came into 
his eye, he stroked my forehead with his hand and said: "Very well, now 
I know" — came back in three days and sang the songs for me a few times. 
After I had memorized them in a few days he left me with the words: 
"There, that's right. So, so that's the way, now sing thus, don't let 
anybody persuade you to do differently and see that you do not put a 
mortant in it." He went; I never saw him again in my room. Only at 
the rehearsal when conducting he frequently nodded to me pleasantly 
and benevolently. One of the old gentlemen expressed the opinion that the 
songs which the master, counting on certain effects, had set for orchestra, 
ought to be accompanied on a guitar. Then he turned his head most 
comically and, with his eyes flaming, said, "He knows!". . . . 

Long afterwards, in a Conversation Book, an unknown hand 
writes: "I remember still the torment vou had with the kettle- 
drums at the rehearsal of 'Egmont'." Nothing more is known of 
the history of this work. Beethoven's name appears on both this 
year's concerts for the Theatrical Poor Fund — March 25, with the 
first movements of the Fourth Symphony; April 17, with the 
"Coriolan" Overture; but it does not appear that he conducted on 
either occasion; it is, however, probable that he did conduct the 
rehearsals and performance of a symphony in Schuppanzigh's 
first Augarten concert in May. 

Add to the above the subsequent notices of a few songs and the 
Quartet, Op. 95, and the meagre history of Beethoven as composer 
for 1810 is exhausted; what remains is of purely private and per- 
sonal nature. Kinsky's active service in the campaign of 1809 
and his subsequent duties in Bohemia had prevented him hitherto 
from discharging his obligations under the annuity contract; but 
the Archduke, perhaps Lobkowitz also, was promptly meeting his; 
and these payments, together with the honorable remuneration 
granted by Breitkopf and Hartel for manuscripts, supplied Beet- 
hoven with ample means for comfort, even for luxury. He had at 
this time no grounds for complaint upon that score. 

Thoughts Hymeneal and Sartorial 173 

It was in 1810 that Beethoven received from Clementi and 
Co. the long-deferred honorarium for the British copyrights 
bought in April, 1807, Exactly when this money was received by 
Beethoven cannot be determined from the existing evidence, but 
it seems to have been before February 4, 1810, on which date 
Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel offering them the com- 
positions from Op. 73 to 83 (exclusive of 75), and remarking that 
he was about to send the same works to London. He would 
scarcely have had such a purpose in mind unless he had had a set- 
tlement with his London publishers. Additional evidence, though 
of little weight, is provided by the circumstance that at the same 
time he was contemplating a change of lodgings, as a letter to Pro- 
fessor Loeb, written on February 8, shows; it was to his old home 
in the house of Baron Pasqualati, which he had occupied two years 
before and which he now took again at an annual rental of 500 

A number of letters to Gleichenstein and Zmeskall to which 
attention must now be called seem to show us Beethoven in the 
character of a man so deeply smitten with the charms of a newly- 
acquired lady friend that he turns his attention seriously to his 
wardrobe and personal appearance and thinks unusually long and 
frequently of the social pleasures enjoyed at the home of his 
charmer. A desire to save space alone prevents the publication of 
the letters in full, but the reader may find them in the published 
Collections of the composer's letters.^ In the first of these he 
sends Gleichenstein 300 florins which the Count was to expend for 
him in the purchase of linen and nankeen for shirts and *'at least 
half a dozen neckties." On the same day, he informs his cor- 
respondent that acting on his advice he had paid Lind 300 florins. 

'The letters to Gleichenstein were placed by Nohl and after him^ by Thayer 
in the year 1807. Their references to money matters and incidents which seem to point 
to the acquisition of a larger sum than usual, especially the first, which indicates that 
Beethoven had recently had an English bill of exchange cashed by his banker, con- 
nect them pretty obviously with the payment received from Clementi and Co. Bring- 
ing these letters into connection with others which were indubitably written in 1810, 
Dr. Riemann makes the argument which follows in the body of the text as to the per- 
son whom Beethoven expected to marry when he sent to Wegeler on May 2d of that 
year for a copy of his baptismal certificate. Thayer pursued the theory that the 
lady was Countess Therese von Brunswick. The English editor has thought it wise 
to follow Dr. Riemann in assigning the letters to the year 1810, and permitting his 
German associate to make his argument in favor of Therese Malfatti, as he has already 
permitted Thayer to urge that the "Immortal Beloved" of the love-letter and the 
hoped-for bride of 1810 were one and the same person. The personality of the "Im- 
mortal Beloved" is not implicated in Dr. Riemann's contention, but only the date 
when the tender relations between Beethoven and Countess Brunswick came to an 
end. On that point there is no evidence. Thayer, as we have sefen and shall see again, 
believed that Beethoven had proposed marriage to Therese Malfatti; but he thought 
it was in 1811. Of the evidence introduced by the Clementi incident, Thayer knew 
nothing, as it was not unearthed until five years after his death. 

174 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Henickstein had paid him twenty-seven and a half florins for a 
pound sterling and invited him and Gleichensteiij to dine the 
next day with Clementi. Very significantly the letter ends with: 
*'Greet everything that is dear to you and me. How gladly would 
I like to add to whom we are dear????" Lind was a tailor 
and Henickstein the son of a banker. The next day he writes 
that on the previous evening the Archduke had requested his 
presence on the day set for the dinner and he had been obliged 
to send Henickstein a declination. The day after that he con- 
cludes a note telling about the meeting at the Archduke's with 
"Farewell. This evening I will come to the dear Malfattis." Here 
is the next letter in full: 

As I shall have enough time this morning, I shall come to the Savage 
(zum ivilden Mann — a restaurant) in the Prater. I fancy that I shall 
find no savages there but beautiful Graces, and for them I must don my 
armor. I know you will not think me a sponge because I come only for 
dinner, and so I will come straight. If I find you at home, well and good; 
if not, I'll hurry to the Prater to embrace you. 

On the day after that he sends Gleichenstein an S. (a sonata, 
doubtless) which he had "promised Therese" and adds: "Give 
my compliments to all of them. It seems as if the wounds with 
which wicked men have pierced my soul might be healed by them"; 
he sends 50 florins more for cravats and makes a boast of it that 
Gigons, Malfatti's little dog, had supped with him and accom- 
panied him home. This is the first of the only two allusions which 
Beethoven makes in all the papers, printed or written, relating to 
him, of a domestic pet animal. Another letter reads: "I beg of 
you to let me know when the M. remain at home of an evening. 
You surely had a pleasant sleep — I slept little, but I prefer such 
an awaking to all sleep." Again he writes to say that he wished 
"Madame M." would give him permission to pick out a piano- 
forte for her which she wished to buy "at Schanz's." Though 
it was his rule never to accept commissions on such sales, he wanted 
to save money for the lady on this purchase. 

Now we reach the notes to Zmeskall, the first of which is 
endorsed by the recipient as having been received on April 18, 
1810. From Zmeskall's lodgings in the Walfischgasse it was but 
a few steps around the corner in the Kiirnthnerthorstrasse to an 
entrance of the Biirgerspital where Zmeskall lived, of whose 
readiness to oblige him he could and did avail himself to an extent 
which at length excited misgivings in his own mind that he was 
really going too far and abusing his friend's kindness. This time 
Beethoven's want was of a very peculiar nature, namely a looking- 

Intercourse with the Malfatti Family 175 

glass; that it was not for shaving purposes but for a more general 
control of his j:oilet is indicated by the second note: 

(April 18, 1810.) 

Dear Zmeskall do send me your looking-glass which hangs beside 
your window for a few hours, mine is broken, if you would be so kind as to 
buy me one like it to-day it would be a great favor, I'll recoup you for 
your expenditure at once — forgive my importunity dear Z. 

Dear Z. do not get angry at my little note — think of the situation 
which I am in, like Hercules once at Queen Oraphale's ? ? ? I asked you to 
buy me a looking-glass like yours, and beg you as soon as you are not 
using yours which I am returning to send it back to me for mine is bro- 
ken — farewell and don't again write to me about the great man — for I 
never felt the strength or weakness of human nature as I feel it just now. 

Remain fond of me. 

(Without date — the original in Boston.) 

Do not get vexed, dear Z. because of my continued demands upon 
you — let me know how much you paid for the looking-glass? 

Farewell we shall see each other soon in the Swan as the food is 
daily growing worse in the (illegible) — I have had another violent attack 
of colic since day before yesterday, but it is better to-day. 

Your friend 


The date of the first note (April 18) is important as show- 
ing that at the time Beethoven was not in the country but still 
in Vienna and that, consequently, the 8th mentioned in the letter 
to Therese Malfatti which follows, w^as not the 8th of April, 
but of May. From this letter we deduce that Beethoven's in- 
tercourse with the Malfatti family in Vienna had become more 
animated and intimate, that Beethoven improvised at the piano- 
forte and that at the punchbowl his spirits rose rather high ("for- 
get the nonsense"). The conclusion points pretty plainly towards 
a desire to be united with the family in closer bonds. The 
Malfattis had probably gone to their country home towards the 
end of April or beginning of May. The following letter to 
Gleichenstein was probably written on the day after the merry 
evening of which the letter to Therese speaks : 

Your report plunged me from the regions of happiness into the 
depths. Why the adjunction, You would let me know when there would 
be another musicale, am I nothing more than your musician or that of the 
others.'^ — that at least is the interpretation, I can therefore seek support 
only in my own breast, there is none for me outside of it; no, nothing 
but wounds has friendship and kindred feelings for me. So be it then, 
for you, poor B. there is no happiness in the outer world, you must create 
it in yourself, only in the world of ideality will you find friends. 

I beg of you to set my mind at rest as to whether I was guilty of any 
impropriety yesterday, or if you cannot do that then tell me the truth, 

176 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

I hear it as willingly as I speak it — there is still time, the truth may yet 
help me. Farewell — don't let your only friend Dorner know anything of 

The letter to Therese reads: 

With this you are receiving, honored Therese, what I promised, and 
if there were not the best of reasons against it, you would receive more in 
order to show that I always do more for my friends than I promise — I 
hope and have no doubt that you keep yourself as well occupied as 
pleasantly entertained — but not so much that you cannot also think of 
me. It would perhaps be presuming upon your kindness or placing too 
high a value upon myself if I were to write you: "people are only together 
when they are in each other's company, even the distant one, the absent 
one lives for us," who would dare to write such a sentiment to the volatile 
T. who handles everything in this world so lightly? Do not forget, in 
laying out your occupation, the pianoforte, or music generally; you have 
so beautiful a talent for it, why not cultivate it exclusively, you who have 
so much feeling for everything that is beautiful and good, why will you 
not make use of it in order to learn the more perfect things in so beautiful 
an art, which always reflects its light upon us — I live very solitarily and 
quietly, although now and then lights try to arouse me there is still for me 
a void which cannot be filled since you are all gone and which defies 
even my art which has always been so faithful to me — your pianoforte 
is ordered and you will have it soon — explain for yourself the difference 
between the treatment of a theme which I invented one evening and the 
manner in which I finally wrote it down, but don't get the punch to help 
you — how lucky you were to be able to go to the country so soon, I 
shall not have this pleasure until the 8th, I rejoice in the prospect like a 
child, how joyous I am when I can walk amongst bushes and trees, 
herbs, rocks, nobody can love the country as I do — since woods, trees, 
rocks, return the answer which man wants to hear. 

(Four lines stricken out). 

You will soon receive four of my compositions whereat you should 
not have to complain too much about the difficulties — have you read 
Goethe's "Wilhelm Meister," Shakespeare translated by Schlegel, one 
has so much leisure in the country it might be agreeable if I were to send 
you these works. Chance has brought it about that I have an acquain- 
tance in your neighborhood, perhaps you will see me at your home early 
some morning for half an hour and then away, you see I wish to be as 
little tedious as possible. Commend me to the good will of your father, 
your mother, although I have no right as yet to ask it of them, also to 
your aunt M. Farewell, honored T. I wish you all that is good and beau- 
tiful in life, think of me and willingly — forget the nonsense — be convinced 
no one can wish that your life may be more joyous and more happy than 
I, even if you have no sympathy for 

Your devoted servant and friend 

N. B. It would really be very nice of you if you were to write a few lines 
to say what I can do for you here? 

Under such circumstances Beethoven wrote the famous 
letter of May 2, 1810 to Wegeler in Coblenz, asking him to 

Preparations for Marriage 177 

procure a copy of his baptismal certificate for him. In this letter 
he says: 

A few years ago my quiet, retired mode of life ceased, and I was 
forcibly drawn into activities of the world; I have not yet formed a 
favorable opinion of it but rather one against it — but who is there could 
escape the influence of the external storms? Yet I should be happy, 
perhaps one of the happiest of men, if the demon had not taken possession 
of my ears. If I had not read somewhere that a man may not volun- 
tarily part with his life so long as a good deed remains for him to perform, 
I should long ago have been no more — and indeed by my own hands. 
O, life is so beautiful, but to me it is poisoned. 

You will not decline to accede to my friendly request if I beg of you 
to secure my baptismal certificate for me. Whatever expense may at- 
tach to the matter, since you have an account with Steffen Breuning, you 
can recoup yourself at once from that source and I will make it good at 
once to Steffen here. If you should yourself think it worth while to in- 
vestigate the matter and make the trip from Coblenz to Bonn, charge 
everything to me. But one thing must be borne in mind, namely, that 
there was a brother born before I was, who was also named Ludwig with the 
addition Maria, but who died. To fix my age beyond doubt, this brother 
must first be found, inasmuch as I already know that in this respect a 
mistake has been made by others, and I have been said to be older than 
I am. Unfortunately I myself lived for a time without knowing my age. 
I had a family register but it has been lost heaven knows how. There- 
fore do not be bored if I urge you to attend to this matter, to find Maria 
and the present Ludwig who was born after him. The sooner you send 
me the baptismal certificate the greater will be my obligation. 

To the "Notizen" (1838) Wegeler published a few pages of 
appendix on the occasion of the Beethoven festival at Bonn 
(1845), giving therein a most valuable paragraph explanatory of 
this important letter: 

It seems that Beethoven, once in his life, entertained the idea of 
marrying, after having been in love many times, as is related in the 
"Notizen" (pp. 40, 42 et seq. and 117 et seq.). Many persons as well as 
myself were impressed by the urgency with which in his letter of May 
10 [sic] he besought me to secure his baptismal certificate for him. He 
wants to pay all the expenditures, even a journey from Coblenz to Bonn. 
And then he adds explicit instructions which I was to observe in looking 
up the certificate in order to get the right one. I found the solution of 
the riddle in a letter written to me three months later by my brother- 
in-law St. V. Breuning. In this he says: "Beethoven tells me at least 
once a week that he intends to write to you; but I believe his marriage 
project has fallen through, and for this reason he no longer feels the 
lively desire to thank you for your trouble in getting him the baptismal 
certificate." In the thirty-ninth year of his life Beethoven had not given 
up thoughts of marriage. 

We know now that the marriage project fell through early 
in May, soon after he had written the letter to Wegeler. Two 

178 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

short letters to Gleichenstein instruct us slightly touching the 
conclusion of this psychological drama which, no doubt, tore the 
heart of Beethoven. It would seem as if at first Beethoven 
wanted to visit the Malfattis at their country home, but at the 
last preferred to send a formal proposal of marriage by the hands 
of Gleichenstein. We have no testimony concerning the refusal 
beyond the utterance of the niece and the cessation of all cor- 
respondence on the subject. Here are the letters: 

You are living on a calm and peaceful sea or, possibly, are already 
in a safe harbor — you do not feel the distress of the friend who is still in 
the storm — or you dare not feel it — what will they think of me in the star 
Venus Urania, how will they judge me without seeing me — my pride is 
so humbled, I would go there with you uninvited — let me see you at 
my lodging to-morrow morning, I shall expect you at about 9 o'clock 
at breakfast — Dorner can come with you at another time — if you were 
but franker with me, you are certainly concealing something from me, 
you want to spare me and this uncertainty is more painful than the most 
fatal certainty — Farewell if you cannot come let me know in advance — 
think and act for me — I cannot entrust to paper more of what is going 
on witliin me. 

Dear friend, so cursedly late — press them all warmly to your heart — 
why can I not be with you.'* Farewell, I will be with you on Wednesday 
morning — the letter is written so that the whole world may read it — if 
you find that the paper covering is not clean enough, put another one on, 
I cannot tell at night whether it is clean — farewell, dear friend, think and 
act also for your faithful friend. 

Beethoven's relations with another fair friend now demand 
attention. In the Vienna suburban road Erdbeergasse stands the 
lofty house then numbered 98, its rear windows overlooking 
Rasoumowsky's gardens, the Donau canal and the Prater, whence 
on May 15, 1810, Elizabeth Brentano (Bettina) wrote to Goethe: 

Here I live in the house of the deceased Birkenstock, surrounded by 
two thousand copperplate engravings, as many hand-drawings, as many 
hundred old ash urns and Etruscan lamps, marble vases, antique frag- 
ments of hands and feet, paintings, Chinese garments, coins, geological 
collections, sea insects, telescopes and numberless maps, plans of an- 
cient empires and cities sunk in ruin, artistically carved walking-sticks, 
precious documents, and finally the sword of Emperor Carolus. 

Joseph Melchior von Birkenstock (born in 1738), the honored, 
trusted and valued servant of Maria Theresia and Kaiser Joseph, 
the friend and brother-in-law of the celebrated Sonnenfels — the 
esteemed correspondent of so many of the noblest men of his time, 
including the American philosopher Franklin and the Scotch 
historian Robertson, the reformer of the Austrian school system, 
the promoter of all liberal ideas so long as in those days progress 

Intimate Relations with the Brentanos 179 

was allowed — was pensioned in 1803, and thenceforth lived for 
science, art and literature until his death, October 30, 1809. His 
house, filled almost to repletion with the artistic, archaeological, 
scientific collections of which Bettina speaks, was one of those truly 
noble seats of learning, high culture and refinement, where Beet- 
hoven, to his manifest intellectual gain, was a welcome guest. 

Sophie Brentano, older than Bettina, very beautiful not- 
withstanding the loss of an eye, and, like all the members of that 
remarkable family, very highly talented and accomplished, had 
made a long visit to Vienna as Count Heberstein's bride — their 
marriage being prevented by her untimely death. "She brought 
about the marriage of her brother Franz with Antonie von Birken- 
stock," says Jahn. "The young wife, who did not feel at home in 
Frankfort" — and also because of the precarious health of her father, 
we may add — "persuaded Brentano to remove to Vienna, where 
for several years she occupied a home in the Birkenstock house 
which Bettina describes so beautifully. In this house, where music 
was cultivated, Beethoven came and went in friendly fashion. 
His 'little friend,' for whose encouragement in pianoforte playing 
he wrote the little trio in a single movement in 1812, was her 
daughter Maximiliane Brentano, later Madame Plittersdorf, 
to whom ten years later he dedicated the Sonata in E major 
(Op. 109). After Birkenstock's death he tried to give a practical 
turn to his friendship by seeking to persuade Archduke Rudolph 
to buy a part of his collection. More effective, evidently was the 
help which Brentano extended to him, who, when he came into 
financial straits and needed a loan, always found an open purse. 
Madame Antonie Brentano was frequently ill for weeks at a time 
during her sojourn in Vienna, so that she had to remain in her 
room inaccessible to all visitors. At such times Beethoven used 
to come regularly, seat himself at a pianoforte in her anteroom 
without a word and improvise; after he had finished 'telling her 
everything and bringing comfort,' in his language, he would go 
as he had come without taking notice of another person." 

The credibility of Madame von Arnim's contribution to 
Beethoven literature has been questioned in all degrees of severity, 
from simple doubts as to particular passages to broad denunciation 
of the whole as gross distortions of fact, or even as figments of the 
imagination. Dogmatism is rarely in proportion to knowledge, 
unless, perhaps, in inverse ratio. The bitterest attacks upon the 
veracity of Mme. von Arnim have been made by those whose 
ignorance of the subject is most conspicuous; but among the 
doubters are people of candor, good judgment and wide knowledge 

180 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of Beethoven's history; and a decent respect for the opinions of such 
renders it just and proper to explain why so much of these con- 
tributions has been admitted into the text as being substantially 

At the very outset we are met by a statement in Schindler's 
book (Ed. 1840) which if correct destroys at once the credibility 
of Mme. von Arnim's account of her first interview with Beetho- 
ven. It is this: "Beethoven became acquainted with the Bren- 
tano family in Frankfort through her [Bettina]." A later writer, 
Ludwig Nohl, supports the assertion on the authority of "Frau 
Brentano, now 87 years old" — Birkenstock's daughter. But 
Schindler, after his long residence in and near Frankfort, writes 
(1860) : "There still lives one of the oldest friends of our master 
during life, with whom he became acquainted already oh his 
arrival in Vienna (1792) in the house of her father." This was 
the above-mentioned lady "now 87 years old." The other writer 
also withdraws his statement in a later publication where he 
speaks of this aged lady's daughter, "Maxe, who as a child in 
1808 [?] in Vienna, often sat at Birkenstock's on his (Beethoven's) 

Any possible doubt on the subject is dispelled by a communi- 
cation made to this author in 1872, by the then head of the Brentano 
family living in Frankfort, who wrote: 

The friendly relations between Beethoven and the family Brentano 
in Frankfort already existed when Frau von Brentano (Antonie) visited 
her father in Vienna, whither she went with her older children for an 
extended period because her father, Court Councillor Birkenstock, had 
been ailing for a considerable time. This friendly intercourse was 
continued after the death of Councillor Birkenstock on October 30, 
1809, and during the three years' sojourn of the Brentano family in 
Vienna. Beethoven often came to the house of Birkenstock, later of 
Brentano, attended the quartet concerts which were given there by the 
best musicians of Vienna, and often rejoiced his friends with his glorious 
pianoforte playing. The Brentano children occasionally carried fruit 
and flowers to him in his lodging; he in return gave them bonbons and 
always exhibited great friendship for them. 

Beethoven, through his familiar intercourse with the Bren- 
tanos, must, of course, have known of the expected visit of Bettina 
and of her relations to Goethe. Her account of their first meeting, 
therefore, is in all respects credible; nor has it been, so far as is 
known, questioned. It is twice given by her own pen in the 
"Brief wechsel" with Goethe under date 1810, and in the Piickler- 
Muskau correspondence as belonging to 1832. At this last-named 
date she had not yet received from Chancellor von Mtiller her 

Mme. von Arnim's Letter to Goethe 181 

letter to Goethe, and wrote from memory, confining her narrative 
to the minor incidents of the meeting. The two accounts differ, 
but they do not contradict, they only supplement each other. 
The present writer had the honor of an interview or two 
with Mme. von Arnim in 1849-50, and heard the story from her 
lips; in 1854-5, it was his good fortune to meet her often in two 
charming family circles — her own and that of the brothers Grimm, 
Thus at an interval of five years he had the opportunity of com- 
paring her statements, of questioning her freely and of convincing 
himself, up to this point, of her simple honesty and truth. 

But the rock of offense does not lie here; it is in the long 
discourse of Beethoven which will presently be given in these 
pages. Schindler objects to this, both in its matter and form, 
on the ground that he had never heard "the master" talk in 
this manner. But the Beethoven whom Schindler knew in his 
last years was not the Beethoven of 1810, and Anton Schindler 
certainly was not an Elizabeth Brentano. There happens to be 
proof that just in the former period the composer could talk 
freely and eloquently. Jahn says: "Beethoven's personality and 
nature, moreover, were calculated to make a significant but 
winning impression upon women," and cites Mme. Hummel 
(Elizabeth Rockel) in proof. "As a matron advanced in years," 
says he, "and still winning because of her charming graciousness, 
she spoke with ingratiating warmth of the good fortune of having 
been observed by Beethoven and to have been on friendly re- 
lations with him. 'Whoever saw him in good humor, intel- 
lectually animated, when he gave utterance to his thoughts in 
such a mood,' said she with glowing eyes, 'can never forget the 
impression which he made.' " 

There are two hypotheses as to the genesis of this letter to 
Goethe. The one: that Mme. von Arnim in preparing the 
"Briefwechsel" for publication wrote out her own crude and neb- 
ulous thoughts and gave them to the public in the form of a 
fictitious report of a conversation of Beethoven, The other: 
that she found Beethoven fresh from the composition of the 
"Egmont" music, full of enthusiasm for Goethe and vehemently 
desirous that his, the great composer's, views upon music should 
be known and comprehended by the great poet; that he, happening 
to get upon this topic at their first interview, imparted those views 
to her with that express purpose; and that she, so far as she was 
able to follow and understand the speaker, and so far as her 
memory could recall his words a few hours after, correctly records 
and reports them. 

182 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The first hypothesis rests now on precisely the same founda- 
tion as when Schindler wrote, namely, on the presumption that 
Beethoven could not have spoken thus; but a discourse uttered 
under such circumstances and with such a purpose, poured into 
the willing ear of a beautiful, highly cultivated and remarkably 
fascinating young woman, one who possessed the higher artistic 
and intellectual qualities of character in an extraordinary degree 
— such a discourse might well abound in thoughts and expressions 
which the prosaic Schindler in the most prosaic period of his 
master's life never drew from him. 

Two significant minor points may be noted: there was a 
Latin word in use by the Breuning family in the old Bonn days 
with a meaning not given in the dictionaries. This we learn from 
Wegeler's "Notizen," and only there. Yet Mme. v. Arnim puts 
this word, raptus, in precisely this local sense into Beethoven's 
mouth several years before the publication of the "Notizen"! 
Again: when the discoveries of Galvani and Volta were still a 
novel topic of general interest, when, through them, physiologists, 
as Dubois-Raymond expressed it, "believed that at length they 
should realize their visions of a vital power"; and when the semi- 
scientific world was full of the theories of Mesmer and his disciples 
— at that time, the first years of the nineteenth century, custom 
gave the word elektrisch (electrical) a significance long since 
lost, which well conveyed the thought Beethoven is made to 
express. But in 1834-5, to introduce this word in that sense, 
retrospectively, into a fictitious conversation purporting to be of 
the year 1810, shows, no less than the raptus, an exquisite tact so 
rare, that it might well be termed a most felicitous stroke of 
genius, one of which any writer of romance might be vain. 

Julius Merz, in his "Athenaeum fiir Wissenschaft, Kunst und 
Leben" (Nuremberg, January, 1839), printed for the opening 
article "Drei Briefe von Beethoven an Bettina." The third of 
these letters was copied the next July into Schilling's ephemeral 
musical periodical the "Jahrblicher" (Carlsruhe), with remarks 
by the editor expressing doubts of its authenticity. But Schind- 
ler, whose book was just then going to press, copied a large portion 
of it as genuine; and in his second edition (1845) reprinted all 
three entire, without adding a word of doubt or misgiving. They 
had appeared in English in 1841, from a copy given to Mr. Henry 
F. Chorley by Mme. von Arnim; and since then have been re- 
printed in various languages probably more frequently, and become 
more universally known, than any other chapter in Beethoven 
literature. Here and there a reader shared in Schilling's doubts; 

Authenticity of the Bettina Letters 183 

but twenty years elapsed before these doubts were put into such 
form, and by an author of such position, that a reasonable self- 
respect could allow Mme. von Arnim to take notice of them; and 
then it was too late — she lay upon her death-bed. Her silence 
under the attacks made upon her veracity is therefore no evidence 
against her. 

A. B. Marx, the author here referred to, produces but one 
argument which demands notice here, and this is the occur- 
rence of certain "repetitions": "liebe, liebste," "liebe, gute," 
"bald, bald" which he declared to be "very womanish and very 
un-Beethovenian." Now, on the contrary, in the text of this 
volume there is abundant proof that just these expressions are 
very Beethovenian and characteristic of his letters to favorite 
women at the precise period in question. 

It is true, as he says, that w^hen Marx wrote, nothing of the 
kind had ever been published; a fortiori, nothing twenty years 
before; but this fact, on which he laid such stress, instead of sup- 
porting really demolishes his argument. It was in the autumn of 
1838 that Mr. Merz received the letters. At that time specimens 
of Beethoven's correspondence had been published by Seyfried 
in the pseudo-"Studien," by Schumann in the "Neue Zeitschrift," 
by Gottfried Weber in the "Cacilia," by Wegeler in the "Noti- 
zen"; and a few others were scattered in books and periodicals. 
Imitators, counterfeiters, fabricators of false documents, must have 
samples, patterns, models; but all the Beethoven letters then in 
print were so far from being the patterns or models of the Bettina 
letters that the contrast between them was the main argument 
against the authenticity of the latter. If, then, Mme. von Arnim 
introduced so many expressions which we know (but she could not) 
are not "very womanish and very un-Beethovenian" into a fic- 
titious correspondence, she did so not only without a pattern or 
model, but against all patterns and models. Credat Judoeus 
Apella, non ego. 

There are points of doubt and difficulty in the third 
letter which the warmest advocates of its authenticity have not 
been able fully to overcome; but as Marx had not sufficient 
knowledge of his subject to perceive them, and the question of the 
acceptance or rejection of this letter will rest upon grounds to be 
given in the text, these points need not be noticed here. Another 
one must be, namely: suppose that letter should be proved coun- 
terfeit, does it follow that the others are so.^ Not at all; but 
that they are the authentic letters whose manner and style are 

184 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In 1848, Mme. von Arnim published two volumes of charac- 
teristic correspondence with Herr Nathusius under the title: 
"Ilius Pamphilius und die Ambrosia." In one of his letters 
Pamphilius requests autographs of Goethe's mother and Beet- 
hoven, for a collection which he is making. This gives her oc- 
casion in various letters to express her admiration and reverence 
for the composer in terms which come warm from the heart. At 
length (Vol. II, p. 205) she writes: "Herewith I am sending you the 
letters of Goethe and Beethoven for your autograph collection." 
She prints all three in the pages following; but a comparison of the 
several passages relating to them leads to the inference, that only 
one autograph was sent. Is all this a mystification.^ Was there 
no Pamphilius? No autograph collection.'^ No contribution of a 
letter in Beethoven's hand to it.^ Herr Nathusius knows. 

Mme. von Arnim, then, gave the letters to the public three 
times; in the "Athenaeum," January, 1839; in English translation, 
through Chorley, 1841; in the "Pamphilius und Ambrosia," in 
1848. It is patent to the feeblest common sense, that, if not 
genuine, either the same copy, or copies carefully collated so as to 
avoid all suspicious variations, would have been sent to the printer; 
and that the two German publications would differ only by such 
small errors as compositors make and proof-readers overlook — 
such as are found in Schindler's reprint from the "Athenaeum," 
and in Marx's from Schindler. But the variations of the "Pam- 
philius" copy from that in the "Athenaeum" are such as cannot 
be printer's errors, but precisely such as two persons, inexperienced 
in the task, would make in deciphering Beethoven's very illegible 
writing; one (Mr. Merz) correcting the punctuation and faults in 
the use of capital letters (as Wegeler has evidently done), and 
the other (Mme. von Arnim) retaining these striking charac- 
teristics of the composer's letters. The change of the familiar 
"Bettine," which Beethoven learned in her brother's family, to 
the more formal "Freundin," can hardly be made a point of 
objection. Marx's argument had been so completely upset, that, 
in renewing (1863) his attack upon the then deceased Mme. von 
Arnim, he was compelled to base it upon other considerations. 
It was then that the present writer compared the letters printed 
in the "Athenaeum" with the copies in the "Pamphilius," which 
convinced him, on the grounds above noted, of their authenticity, 
at least in part, and led to a correspondence, of which an abstract 
here follows: On July 9, 1863, the present author requested Mr. 
Wheeler, American Consul at Nuremberg, to see Mr. Merz, 
learn from him the circumstances under which he obtained the 

First Meeting with Bettixa 185 

letters, and whether he printed from Beethoven's autograph. 
Mr. Wheeler replied on August 9th: "He [Mr. Merz] states, 
that he enjoyed the personal acquaintance of that lady (Mme. 
von Arnim), and was at the time in Berlin on a visit; and being 
at her residence on a certain occasion, she gave him these letters, 
remarking: 'There is something for the Athenaeum.' After pub- 
lishing the letters, Mr. Merz feels confident, he returned the letters 
to Mme. V. Arnim." The author now, on August 2oth, requested 
Mr. Wheeler if possible to obtain from Mr. Merz his written 
statement that he had printed the letters from the original auto- 
graphs. Mr. Wheeler, on September 24th, replied. . . . "Yester- 
day he [Merz] was good enough to write me the note you requested; 
I trust it may be found of the tenor wished." The note which 
was enclosed in this letter is this: "I can certify that at the time 
in question I had in my possession the letters referred to in the 
January number of the 'Athenaeum,' but gave them back again. 
Nuremberg, September 23, 1863. Julius Merz, book publisher." 
It may be said that this note does not explicitly cover the whole 
ground. True, it is the testimony of a conscientious man who, 
after the lapse of twenty-five years, remembers deciphering cer- 
tain letters of Beethoven which he printed, but does not venture 
to declare that all that he printed lay before him in the hand- 
writing of the master. There is another witness who is reported 
to have been less distrustful of his memory. Herr Ludwig Nohl, 
in a note to these letters ("Briefe Beethoven's," p. 71), says: 
"Their authenticity (barring, perhaps, a few words in the middle 
of the third letter) was never doubtful in my mind and will 
not be now after Beethoven's letters have been made public. 
Though superfluous, it may yet be said for the benefit of such as 
are not wholly willing to accept internal evidence, that Prof. 
Moriz Carriere, in a conversation on the subject of Beethoven's 
letters in December, 1864, expressly stated that the three letters to 
Bettina were genuine; he saw them himself in her house in Berlin 
in 1839, read them through with the greatest interest and care, and 
because of their significant contents had urged their immediate 
publication. When they were printed a short time afterward, 
no changes in the reprint struck his attention; on the contrary, 
he could still remember that the much controverted terms, 
particularly the anecdote about Goethe in the third letter, were 
precisely so in the original." 

And now to the matter, the discussion of which has detained 
us so long. One day in May, Beethoven, sitting at the pianoforte 
with a song just composed before him, was surprised by a pair of 

186 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

hands being placed upon his shoulders. He looked up "gloomily" 
but his face brightened as he saw a beautiful young woman who, 
putting her mouth to his ear said: "My name is Brentano." She 
needed no further introduction. He smiled, gave her his hand 
without rising and said: "I have just made a beautiful song for you; 
do you want to hear it.''" Thereupon he sang — raspingly, in- 
cisively, not gently or sweetly (the voice was hard), but tran- 
scending training and agreeableness by reason of the cry of passion 
which reacted on the hearer — "Kennst du das Land.^" He asked: 
"Well, how do you like it.^^" She nodded. "It is beautiful, 
isn't it.-*" he said enthusiastically, "marvellously beautiful; I'll 
sing it again." He sang it again, looked at her with a triumphant 
expression, and seeing her cheeks and eyes glow, rejoiced over her 
happy approval. "Aha!" said he, "most people are touched by a 
good thing; but they are not artist-natures. Artists are fiery; 
they do not weep." He then sang another song of Goethe's, 
"Trocknet nicht Thranen der ewigen Liebe." 

There was a large dinner party that day at Franz Brentano's 
in the Birkenstock house and Bettina — for it was she — told 
Beethoven he must change his old coat for a better, and accompany 
her thither. "Oh," said he jokingly, "I have several good coats," 
and took her to the wardrobe to see them. Changing his coat he 
went down with her to the street, but stopped there and said he 
must return for a moment. He came down again laughing with 
the old coat on. She remonstrated; he went up again, dressed 
himself properly and went with her.^ But, notwithstanding his 
rather clumsy drollery, she soon discovered a greatness in the 
man for which she was wholly unprepared. His genius burst 
upon her with a splendor of which she had formed no previous 
conception, and the sudden revelation astonished, dazzled, en- 
raptured her. It is just this, which gives the tone to her letter 
upon Beethoven addressed to Goethe. In fact, the Beethoven of 
our conceptions was not then known; the first attempt to describe 
or convey in words, what the finer appreciative spirits had begun 
to feel in his music, was E. T. A. Hoffmann's article on the C minor 
Symphony, in the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." of July 21st — five weeks 

'This account of the first meeting of Bettina and Beethoven is compiled from 
her letters to Goethe and Piickler-Muskau, and notes of her conversation with the 
writer. How deep and clear the impressions of their first interviews with Beethoven, 
even to minute incidents, remained upon the memories of both Mme. von Arnim and 
Mme. von Arncth, when seventy years of age, the writer had opportunity to know 
by hearing them from their own lips. In the printed letters of the former to Piickler- 
Muskau, the part relating to this first meeting is lucid and satisfactory, but the con- 
fusion of memory visible in the rest of the letter renders it nearly worthless. 

Bettina's Letter to Goethe 187 

The essential parts of Bettina's long communication are these: 

(To Goethe) Vienna, May 28. 

When I saw him of whom I shall now speak to you, I forgot the 
whole world — as the world still vanishes when memory recalls the scene — 
yes, it vanishes. ... It is Beethoven of whom I now wish to tell you, and 
who made me forget the world and you; I am still in my nonage, it is true, 
but I am not mistaken when I say — what no one, perhaps, now understands 
and believes — he stalks far ahead of the culture of mankind. Shall we 
ever overtake him.'' — I doubt it, but grant that he may live until the 
mighty and exalted enigma lying in his soul is fully developed, may 
reach its loftiest goal, then surely he wilJ place the key to his heavenly 
knowledge in our hands so that we may be advanced another step to- 
wards true happiness. 

To you, I am sure, I may confess I believe in a divine magic which 
is the essence of intellectual life. This magic Beethoven practises in his 
art. Everything that he can tell you about is pure magic, every posture 
is the organization of a higher existence, and therefore Beethoven feels 
himself to be the founder of a new sensuous basis in the intellectual life;, 
you will understand what I am trying to say and how much of it is true 
Who could replace this mind for us? From whom could we expect so 
much.'* All human activities toss around him like mechanism, he alone 
begets independently in himself the unsuspected, uncreated. What to 
him is intercourse with the world — to him who is at his sacred daily task 
before sunrise and who after sunset scarcely looks about him, who for- 
gets sustenance for his body and who is carried in a trice, by the stream 
of his enthusiasm, past the shores of work-a-day things.^ 

He himself said : "When I open my eyes I must sigh, for what I see 
is contrary to my religion, and I must despise the world which does not 
know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, 
the wine which inspires one to new generative processes, and I am the 
Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them 
spiritually drunken. When they are again become sober they have drawn 
from the sea all that they brought with them, all that they can bring^ 
with them to dry land. I have not a single friend; I must live alone. 
But well I know that God is nearer to me than to other artists; I as- 
sociate with him without fear; I have always recognized and understood 
him and have no fear for my music — it can meet no evil fate. Those 
who understand it must be freed by it from all the miseries which the 
others drag about with themselves." 

All this Beethoven said to me the first time I saw him ; a feeling of 
reverential awe came over me when he expressed himself to me with such 
friendly frankness, seeing that I must have appeared so utterly insignifi- 
cant to him, I was surprised, too, for I had been told that he was un- 
sociable and would converse with nobody. They were afraid to take me 
to him; I had to hunt him up alone. He has three lodgings in which he 
conceals himself alternately — one in the country, one in the city and the 
third on the bastion. It was in the last that I found him in the third 
storey, walked in unannounced. He was seated at the pianoforte. 

He accompanied me home and on the way he said the many beauti- 
ful things about art, speaking so loud and stopping in the street that it 
took courage to Hsten to him. He spoke with great earnestness and much 

188 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

too surprisingly not to make me forget the street. They were greatly 
surprised to see him enter a large dinner party at home with me. After 
dinner, without being asked, he sat down to the instrument and played 
long and marvellously; there was a simultaneous fermentation of his 
pride and his genius. When he is in such a state of exaltation his spirit 
begets the incomprehensible and his fingers accomplish the impossible. 

In the letter to Piickler-Muskau in which Mme. von Arnim 
dwells more upon the incidents of this meeting, she writes thus: 

There was surprise when I entered a gathering of more than 40 
people who sat at table, hand in hand with Beethoven. Without ado 
he seated himself, said little (doubtless because he was deaf). Twice he 
took his writing-tablet out of his pocket and made a few marks in it. 
After dinner the entire company went up to the tower of the house to 
look at the view; when they were gone down again and he and I alone, he 
drew forth his tablet, looked at it, wrote and elided, then said : "My song 
is finished." He leaned against the window-frame and sang it out upon 
the air. Then he said: "That sounds, doesn't it.^ It belongs to you if 
you like it, I made it for you, you inspired it, I read it in your eyes just 
as it was written." 

In the Goethe letter she continues: 

Since then he comes to me every day, or I go to him. For this I 
neglect social meetings, galleries, the theatre, and even the tower of St. 
Stephen's. Beethoven says "Ah! What do you want to see there .^ I 
will call for you towards evening; we will walk through the alleys of 
Schonbrunn." Yesterday I went with him to a glorious garden in full 
bloom, all the hot-beds open — the perfume was bewildering; Beethoven 
stopped in the oppressive sunshine and said: "Not only because of their 
contents, but also because of their rhythm, Goethe's poems have great 
power over me, I am tuned up and stimulated to composition by this 
language which builds itself into higher orders as if through the work of 
spirits and already bears in itself the mystery of the harmonies. 

"Then from the focus of enthusiasm I must discharge melody in all 
directions; I pursue it, capture it again passionately; I see it flying away 
and disappearing in the mass of varied agitations; now I seize upon it 
again with renewed passion; I cannot tear myself from it; I am impelled 
with hurried modulations to multiply it, and, at length I conquer it: 
— behold, a symphony ! Music, verily, is the mediator between intellec- 
tual and sensuous life. I should like to talk with Goethe about this — 
would he understand me.'". . . . "Speak to Goethe about me," he said; 
"tell him to hear my symphonies and he will say that I am right in saying 
that music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowl- 
edge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot compre- 
hend. . . . We do not know what knowledge brings us. The encased 
seed needs the moist, electrically warm soil to sprout, to think, to express 
itself. Music is the electrical soil in which the mind thinks, lives, 
feels. Philosophy is a precipitate of the mind's electrical essence; its 
needs which seek a basis in a primeval principle are elevated by it, and 
although the mind is not supreme over what it generates through it, it is 
yet happy in the process. Thus every real creation of art is independent. 

Goethe's Reply to Bettina 189 

more powerful than the artist himself and returns to the divine through 
its manifestation. It is one with man only in this, that it bears testi- 
mony of the mediation of the divine in him. . . . Everything electrical 
stimulates the mind to musical, fluent, out-streaming generation. 

"I am electrical in my nature. I must interrupt the flow of my 
undemonstrable wisdom or I might neglect my rehearsal. Write to 
Goethe if you understand what I have said, but I cannot be answerable 
for anything and will gladly be instructed by him." I promised to 
write you everything to the best of my understanding. . . . Last 
night I wrote down all that he had said; this morning I read it over to 
him. He remarked: ''^Did I say that? Well, then I had a raptus!" He 
read it again attentively and struck out the above and wrote between 
the lines, for he is greatly desirous that you shall understand him. Re- 
joice me now with a speedy answer, which shall show Beethoven that 
you appreciate him. It has always been our purpose to discuss music; 
it was also my desire, but through Beethoven I feel for the first time 
that I am not fit for the task. 

To this letter Goethe answered : 

Your letter, heartily beloved child, reached me at a happy time. 
You have been at great pains to picture for me a great and beautiful 
nature in its achievements and its strivings, its needs and the super- 
abundance of its gifts. It has given me great pleasure to accept this 
picture of a truly great spirit. Without desiring at all to classify it, 
it yet requires a psychological feat to extract the sum of agreement; 
but I feel no desire to contradict what I can grasp of your hurried ex- 
plosion; on the contrary, I should prefer for the present to admit an 
agreement between my nature and that which is recognizable in these 
manifold utterances. The ordinary human mind might, perhaps, find 
contradictions in it; but before that which is uttered by one possessed 
of such a daemon, an ordinary layman must stand in reverence, and it is 
immaterial whether he speaks from feeling or knowledge, for here the 
gods are at work strewing seeds for future discernment and we can only 
wish that they may proceed undisturbedly to development. But before 
they can become general, the clouds which veil the human mind must 
be dispersed. Give Beethoven my heartiest greetings and tell him that 
I would willingly make sacrifices to have his acquaintance, when an ex- 
change of thoughts and feelings would surely be beautifully profitable; 
mayhap you may be able to persuade him to make a journey to Karlsbad 
whither I go nearly every year and would have the greatest leisure to 
listen to him and learn from him. To think of teaching him would be an 
insolence even in one with greater insight than mine, since he has the 
guiding light of his genius which frequently illumines his mind like a 
stroke of lightning while we sit in darkness and scarcely suspect the 
direction from which daylight will break upon us. 

It would give me great joy if Beethoven were to make me a present 
of the two songs of mine which he has composed, but neatly and plainly 
written. I am very eager to hear them. It is one of my greatest enjoy- 
ments, for which I am very grateful, to have the old moods of such a poem 
(as Beethoven very correctly says) newly aroused in me. . . . 

June 6, 1810. 

190 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

(Bettina to Goethe) 

Dearest friend! I communicated your beautiful letter to Beethoven 
so far as it concerned him. He was full of joy and cried: "If there is 
any one who can make him understand music, I am the man!" The 
idea of hunting you up at Karlsbad filled him with enthusiasm. He 
struck his forehead a blow and said: "Might I not have done that earlier.? 
— but, in truth, I did think of it but omitted to do it because of timidity 
which often torments me as if I were not a real man : but I am no longer 
afraid of Goethe." You may count, therefore, on seeing him next 
year. . . . 

I am enclosing both songs by Beethoven; the other two are by me. 
Beethoven has seen them and said many pretty things about them, 
such as that if I had devoted myself to this lovely art I might cherish 
great hopes; but I merely graze it in flight, for my art is only to laugh and 
sigh in a little pocket — more than that there is none for me. 


By the middle of June she was in Bohemia. 

There are a few letters from this period to which attention 
may be paid. On July 9, 1810, Beethoven wrote to Zmeskall 
telling him of his distracted state of mind: he ought to go away 
from Vienna for the sake of his health, but Archduke Rudolph 
wanted him to remain near him; so he was one day in Schon- 
brunn, the next in Vienna. "Every day there come new inquiries 
from strangers, new acquaintances, new conditions even as regards 
art — sometimes I feel as if I should go mad because of my un- 
deserved fame; fortune is seeking me and on that account I almost 
apprehend a new misfortune." On July 17th, he sent to Thomson 
the Scotch songs which he had arranged, accompanied by a letter 
(in French) in which he discusses business matters, gives some in- 
structions touching the repetitions in the songs, repeats his offer 
to compose three quintets and three sonatas and to send him 
such arrangements for quartet and quintet as have been made of 
his symphonies. Soon thereafter he wrote to Bettina Brentano:^ 

^From the "Athenaeum." There are a few variations in the letter as printed in the 
Nuremburg journal and in "Ilius Pamphilius" — "Bettine" is changed to "friend," 
"frog" to "fish," "and on the bastion" is omitted, "fascinated" (gebannt) is altered to 
"seized" (gepackt). A few other differences are grammatical errors. 

It seems proper at this place for the English Editor to remark that Mr. Thayer's 
argument in favor of the authenticity of the Bettina letters was printed in the Appendix 
to Vol. Ill of the original edition with a concluding foot-note by Dr. Deiters in which he 
said that he had not been convinced by his author's painstaking exposition that the letters 
are genuine. Dr. Riemann in the second Germanedition prints the letters and the argument 
in the text, distributing the latter in two chapters and appending a foot-note in which he 
gives it as his opinion that only the second (that dated February 10, 1811, the autograph 
of which is in existence) is authentic as a letter, while the other two, though probably 
based on observations made by Beethoven to Bettina, were put into epistolary shape by 
her. One of Bettina's letters to Pilckler-Muskau, which tells of Beethoven's rudeness to 
Goethe as illustrated in the anecdote which plays so important a role in the third letter, 
would seem to bear out this theory. But it is also likely that Beethoven's original letters 
were tricked out by her for literary effect, which would help to explain the disappearance 

Beethoven's Letter to Bettina 191 

Vienna, August 11, 1810. 
Dearest Bettine: 

No lovelier spring than this, that say I and feel it, too, because I 
have made your acquaintance. You must have seen for yourself that in 
society I am like a frog on the sand which flounders about and cannot 
get away until some benevolent Galatea puts him into the mighty sea 
again. I was right high and dry, dearest Bettine, I was surprised by you 
at a moment when ill-humor had complete control of me; but of a truth 
it vanished at sight of you, I knew at once that you belonged to another 
world than this absurd one to which with the best of wills one cannot 
open his ears. I am a miserable man and am complaining about the 
others! ! — Surely you will pardon this with your good heart which looks 
out of your eyes and your sense which lies in your ears — at least your 
ears know how to flatter when they give heed. My ears, unfortunately, 
are a barrier through which I cannot easily have friendly intercourse 
with mankind — otherwise! — Perhaps! — I should have had more con- 
fidence in you. As it is I could only understand the big, wise look of 
your eyes, which did for me what I shall never forget. Dear Bettine, 
dearest girl! Art! — who understands it, with whom can one converse 
about this great goddess! — How dear to me are the few days in which 
we chatted, or rather corresponded with each other, I have preserved all 
the little bits of paper on which your bright, dear, dearest answers are 
written. And so I owe it to my bad ears that the best portion of these 
fleeting conversations is written down. Since you have been gone I 
have had vexatious hours, hours of shadow, in which nothing can be done; 
I walked about in the Schonbrunn Alley for fully three hours after you 
were gone, and on the bastion; but no angel who might fascinate me as 
you do. Angel. Pardon, dearest Bettine, this departure from the key. 
I must have such intervals in which to unburden my heart. You have 
written to Goethe, haven't you.?* — would that I might put my head in 
a bag so that I could see and hear nothing of what is going on in the world. 
Since you, dearest angel, cannot meet me. But I shall get a letter from 
you, shall I not.'' — Hope sustains me, it sustains half of the world, and I 
have had her as neighbor all my life, if I had not what would have become 
of me.' — I am sending you herewith, written with my own hand, "Kennst 
du das Land," as a souvenir of the hour in which I learned to know you, 
I am sending also the other which I have composed since I parted with 
you dear, dearest heart! 

Herz, mein Herz, was soil das geben, 

Was bedranget dich so sehr.?* 
Welch ein fremdes, neues Leben! 

Ich erkenne dich nicht mehr. 

Yes, dearest Bettine, answer this, write me what it is shall happen 

to me since my heart has become such a rebel. Write to your most 

faithful friend — 


of the autographs of the letters of IBIO and 1812. The second letter, which was printed 
in facsimile in the Marx-Behncke critical biography of Beethoven (4th ed., 1884), was 
in possession of Pastor Nathusius in Quedlinburg in 1902. 

192 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The cessation in Beethoven's productiveness in this period is 
partly explained by the vast amount of labor entailed by the prep- 
aration of manuscripts for publication, the correction of proofs, 
etc. Of this there is evidence in a number of letters to Breitkopf 
and Hartel. On July 2 he wrote demanding an honorarium of 
250 florins for works that he had specified, and sending the first 
installment, two sonatas for pianoforte, five variations for piano- 
forte and six ariettas (probably Op. 75). The second install- 
ment, he said, should be a Concerto in E-flat, the Choral Fan- 
tasia and three Ariettas. The third, the Characteristic Sonata 
"Farewell, Absence and Return," five Italian ariettas and the 
score of "Egmont." On August 21, 1810, he wrote to the firm at 
great length. He sends a draft of a plan for a complete edition of 
his works, in which Breitkopf and Hartel were to figure as the 
principal publishers. He asks what they are willing to pay for 
"a concerto, quartet, etc., and then you will be able to see that 
250 ducats is a small honorarium.". . . "I do not aim at being a 
musical usurer, as you think, who composes only in order to get 
rich, by no means, but I love a life of independence and cannot 
achieve this without a little fortune, and then the honorarium must, 
like everything else that he undertakes, bring some honor to the 
artist." He gives directions as to the dedications. Of the 
"Egmont" he says: "As soon as you have received the score you 
will best know what use to make of it and how to direct the atten- 
tion of the public to it — I WTote it purely out of love for the poet, 
and to show this I accepted nothing from the theatre directors 
who accepted it, and as a reward, as ever and always, have treated 
my work with great indifference. There is nothing smaller than 
our great folk, but I make an exception in favor of the archdukes 
— give me your opinion as to a complete edition of my works, one 
of the chief obstacles seems to be in the case of new works which 
I shall continue to bring into the world I shall have to suffer in the 
matter of publication.". . . 

Without date, but endorsed by the firm as of August 21st, is 
the following little note containing an important correction in the 
Scherzo of the Fifth Symphony : 

... I have found another error in the Symphony in C minor, namely, in 
the third movement in ^4 time where, after the t^ k| tl the minor returns 
again, it reads (I just take the bass part) thus: 

r '• \ ^ -^^'-l^Jr \^ i ^ \ ^ * ^ 

The two measures marked by a X are redundant and must be stricken 
out, of course also in all the parts that are pausing. 

Sorrows Borne in Silence 193 

If the correspondence in this chapter seems in tone and char- 
acter at variance with the assumption that, for some reason or 
other, this was a disastrous year to Beethoven, it must not be 
forgotten that there are troubles and sorrows which must be 
borne in silence — when to complain and lament is apter to excite 
ridicule than compassion. Though the burden be almost in- 
supportable, the sufferer must perform his duties and pursue the 
business of life with a serene countenance, and permit no outward 
sign to reveal the secret pain. "The setting of a great hope is like 
the setting of the sun," says Longfellow. "The brightness of our 
life is gone. Shadows of evening fall around us and the world 
seems but a dim reflection — itself a broader shadow. We look 
forward into the coming lonely night. The soul withdraws into 
itself." When "surprised" by Bettina, Beethoven's great hope 
had set and "ill humor had complete control" of him. His 
"marriage project had fallen through." Whoever the lady was, 
the blow had now fallen and must be borne in silence. Its dis- 
astrous effect upon Beethoven's professional energies is therefore 
for us the only measure of its severity. True, he writes to Zmes- 
kall and talks of his art as if great things were in prospect; but 
he had no heart for such labor, and not until October did he take up 
and finish the Quartetto Serioso for his friend. The long bright 
summer days, that in other years had awakened his powers to 
new and joyous activity and added annually one at least to the 
list of his grandest works, came and departed, leaving no memorial 
but a few songs and minor instrumental works — the latter ap- 
parently composed to order. He took no country lodging this 
summer — alternating between Baden and Vienna, and indulging 
in lonely rambles among the hills and forests. We think it must 
have been in this period of song composition and oriental studies 
that, on such an excursion, he had with him the undated paper 
containing a selection from the songs in Herder's "Morgen- 
landische Blumenlese" and wrote upon it in pencil: 

My decree [meaning the annuity contract] says only "to remain in 
the country" — perhaps this would be complied with by any spot. My 
unhappy ears do not torment me here. It seems as if in the country 
every tree said to me "Holy! Holy! " Who can give complete expression 
to the ecstasy of the woods.'^ If everything else fails the country remains 
even in winter — such as Gaden, Untercr Briihl, etc. — easy to hire a 
lodging from a peasant, certainly cheap at this time. 

Another half-sheet in the Library of the Musikfreunde in 
Vienna, mostly covered with rude musical sketches, is a suitable 

194 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

pendant to the above, as it contains these words: "Without the 
society of some loved person it would not be possible to live even 
in the country." 

It is well known that Beethoven's duties to Archduke 
Rudolph soon became irksome and at last almost insupportable. 
It was, however, for his good that he was compelled to perform 
them and be master of himself to that extent; it was also for- 
tunate that Elizabeth Brentano came just at the crisis with beauty, 
grace and genius to turn his thoughts into other channels. Nor 
was it without benefit to him that Thomson's melodies, which 
required no severe study, gave some desultory but profitable em- 
ployment to his mind. Just at the close of the year it was ru- 
mored that he contemplated a journey into Italy "next spring, in 
order to seek restoration of his health, which had suffered greatly 
for several years, under southern skies." There was some foun- 
dation for this, for some years later Beethoven himself states in 
one of his letters: 'T declined a call to Naples." 

The compositions of the year 1810 are: 

1. The incidental music to Goethe's "Egmont." It was composed 
between October, 1809 and May, 1810, and the first performance took 
place on the 24th day of the latter month. There are sketches for the 
song "Freudvoll und Leidvoll" in a sketchbook used in 1809; but 
Nottebohra does not recognize them as having been conceived for use 
in the tragedy, since there are indications that the song was to have 
pianoforte accompaniment and be sung in part by two voices. In a 
sketchbook begun early in January, 1810 (Nottebohm, "Zweite Beetho- 
veniana," p. 276), on the first twenty-nine pages there are sketches for 
seven numbers in the following order, viz: 7, 1, 8, 9, 2, 3, 6. Sketches 
for the overture are not to be found in the book, but in other places in 
connection with sketches for the Pianoforte Trio in B-flat, Op. 97, which 
was also in hand in 1809. Beethoven's admiration for Goethe (stimu- 
lated, it is fair to assume, by his intercourse with Elizabeth Brentano) 
is shown by the fact that, besides the "Egmont" lyrics, others of Goethe's 
poems were sketched or completed in the year which saw the production of 
the tragedy. "Egmont" was first performed on May 24, 1810. Though 
Beethoven contemplated dedicating it to Archduke Rudolph, it eventually 
appeared without a dedication. Beethoven offered the music to Breit- 
kopf and Hiirtel in a letter dated May 6 (1810) for 1400 florins in silver. 

2. Two songs: "Kennst du das Land" and "Herz, mein Herz." 

3. Three songs: "Wonne der Wehmuth," "Sehnsucht," and "Mit 
einem gemalten Bande." The manuscript bears the following inscrip- 
tion in Beethoven's hand: "3 Gesange — 1810 — Poesie von Goethe in 
Musik gesetzt von Ludwig van Beethoven." 

4. Forty-three Irish melodies, with ritornellos and accompaniments 
for pianoforte, violin and violoncello (completed). 

5. Ecossaise for military band. 

6. Polonaise for military band. 

Works Published in 1810 195 

7. March in F major for military band. "Composed in 1810, in 
Baden, for Archduke Anton — 3rd Summer-month." 

8. String Quartet, F minor. Op. 95. The autograph manuscript 
preserved in the Royal Imperial Court Library at Vienna bears the in- 
scription: ''Quartetto serioso — 1810 — in the month of October. Dedi- 
cated to Herr von Zmeskall and written in the month of October by his 
friend L. v. Beethoven." 

The publications of the year were: 

1. "Das Lied aus der Feme." Published by Breitkopf and 
Hartel, in February. 

2. "Andenken," song by Matthison. Breitkopf and Hartel, in 

3. The opera "Leonore," in two acts, etc., without overture and 
finales. Breitkopf and Hartel, in March. 

4. Sesietto pour 2 Clarinettes, 2 Cors et 2 Bassons, par L. v. Beet- 
hoven. In parts, by Breitkopf and Hartel, in April. 

5. Ouverture a grand Orchestre de VOpera Leonore, etc. ("Leonore, 
No. 3"), by Breitkopf and Hartel, in July. 

6. Five Songs: Lied aus der Feme ("Als mir noch die Thrane" — 
thirteen pages composed stanza by stanza, newly published); Der 
Liebende ("Welch' ein wunderbares Leben"); Der JiingUng in der 
Fremde ("Der Friihling entbluhet"); An den fernen Geliebten ("Einst 
wohnten siisse Ruh") ; Der Zufriedene ("Zwar schuf das Gllickhienieden"), 
published in "Achtzehn deutsche Gedichte mit Begleitung des Piano- 
forte von verschiedenen Meistern .... Erzherzog Rudolph .... gewid- 
met von C. L. Reissig," by Artaria and Co., Vienna, in July. 

7. "Die Sehnsucht von Goethe, mit vier Melodien nebst Clavier- 

begleitung " No. 38, Vienna and Pesth, Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir, 

in September. A later edition bears the imprint of S. A. Steiner and Co. 

8. Variations pour le Pianoforte composees et dediees a son Ami 
Oliva par L. v. Beethoven. (Euv. 76. Breitkopf and Hartel, in October. 

9. Quatuor pour deux Violons, etc., compose et dedie a son Altesse 
le Prince regnant de Lobkowitz, Due de Raudnitz, par, etc. Op. 74. Breit- 
kopf and Hartel, in November. 

10. Six Songs with accompaniment for the Pianoforte. Op. 75. 
Dedicated to Princess Kinsky. Breitkopf and Hartel, in November. 
Mignon ("Kennst du das Land"); Neue Liebe, neues Leben ("Herz, 
mein Herz"); Aus Goethe's Faust ("Es war einmal ein Konig"); Gretel's 
Warnung ("Mit Liebesblick und Spiel und Sang"); An den fernen Gelieb- 
ten ("Einst wohnten siisse Ruh"); Der Zufriedene ("Zwar schuf das 
Gliick hienieden"). The last two had been published in July in Reissig's 
Collection (see No. 6). 

11. Fantaisie pour le Pianoforte composee et dediee a son Ami 
Monsieur le Conte Frangois de Brunswick par L. v. Beethoven. Op. 77. 
Breitkopf and Hartel, in November. 

12. Sonate pour le Pianoforte composee et dediee a Madame la Comtesse 
Therese de Brunswick, etc. Op. 78. Breitkopf and Hartel, in November. 

13. Sonatine pour le Pianoforte, etc. Op. 79. Breitkopf and 

Hartel, in November. 

14. Sextuor pour 2 Violons, Alto, Violoncelb et 2 Cors obliges. 
Op. 81 (81b), by Simrock, Bonn, in the spring. 

Chapter XI 

Bettina Brentano Again — Letters Between Beethoven and 
Goethe — The B-flat Trio — The Theatre in Pesth — Opera 
Projects — Therese Malfatti — Sojourn in Tephtz. 

BEETHOVEN'S intercourse with the Brentanos kept his 
interest in Bettina ahve and to this we owe a characteristic 
and welcome letter which, like the first, is here taken from 
the Nuremberg "Athenaeum": 

Vienna, February 10, 1811. 
Beloved, dear Bettine ! 

I have already received two letters from you and observe from your 
letters to your brother ["to Tonie" in the "Ilius Pamphilius," Tonie being 
her sister-in-law], that you still think of me and much too favorably. 
I carried your first letter around with me all summer and it often made 
me happy; even if I do not write to you often and you never see me I yet 
write you a thousand times a thousand letters in my thoughts. I could 
have imagined how you feel amidst the cosmopolitan rabble in Berlin 
even if you had not written about it to me; much chatter without deeds 
about art! ! ! ! ! The best description of it is in Schiller's poem "Die 
Fliisse," where the Spree speaks. 

You are to be married, dear Bettine, or have already been, and I 
could not see you once more before then; may all happiness with which 
marriage blesses the married, fiow upon you. What shall I tell you about 
myself? "Pity my fate," I cry with Johanna; if I can save a few 
years for myself for that and all other weal and woe I shall thank 
Him the all-comprehending and Exalted. If you write to Goethe, hunt 
out all the words to express my deepest reverence and admiration for 
him. I am about to write to him myself concerning Egmont for which I 
have composed music and, indeed, purely out of love for his poems which 
make me happy, but who can suj93ciently thank a great poet, the most 
precious jewel of a nation.'^ And now no more, dear good Bettine. It 
was 4 o'clock before I got home this morning from a bacchanalian feast at 
which I had to laugh so much that I shall have to weep correspondingly 
to-day; boisterous joy often forces me in upon myself powerfully. As to 
Clemens,! many thanks for his kind offer. As to the cantata, the subject 
is not sufficiently important for us here, it is a different matter in Berlin, 

'Clemens Brentano, brother of Bettina and Franz, who had written the text of a 
cantata on the death of Queen Louise. 


Beethoven Writes to Goethe 197 

and as concerns affection, the sister has monopolized it so much that 
little will be left for the brother, does that suffice him? 

Now, farewell dear, dear Bettine, I kiss you upon your forehead and 
thus impress upon you as with a seal all my thoughts of you. Write 
soon, soon, often to your friend 

Beethoven lives on the Molker 
Bastei in the Pascolati House. 

This letter invites attention to several erroneous comments 
which have been made on the Bettina letters and the history of the 
"Egmont" music. Czerny's statement that Beethoven did not 
compose the music to the tragedy out of love for Goethe's poems 
but would have preferred a commission for Schiller's "Tell" is 
contradicted by Beethoven himself in a letter to Breitkopf and 
Hartel which was written six weeks before the letter to Bettina. 
In his book "Die Briefe Beethovens an Bettina von Arnini" 
(1882), Dr. Deiters expressed a doubt that Beethoven would have 
written in February, 1811, that he was "about to write to Goethe" 
about his work which was finished early in 1810; but this objection 
to the authenticity of the letter is removed by the fact that it was 
two months more before the purpose thus expressed was carried 
out. In the Goethe archives in Weimar there is a letter from 
Beethoven which was first given to the world in 1890, by Dr. 
Theodor Frimmel in his "Neue Beethoveniana" (p. 345). It 
runs as follows: 

Vienna, April 12, 1811. 

Only a moment's time offers me the urgent opportunity inasmuch 
as a friend of mine who is a great admirer of yours (like myself) is hastily 
departing from here, to thank you for the long time that I have known you 
(for I know you since my childhood) — that is so little for so much — 
Bettine Brentano has assured me that you will graciously, even kindly 
receive me, but how can I think of such a reception when I can only 
approach you with the greatest reverence and with an unutterably deep 
feeling for your glorious creations — ^you will soon receive the music to 
Egmont from Leipsic through Breitkopf and Hartel, this glorious Egmont 
which I read so ardently, thought over and experienced again and gave 
out in music — I would greatly like to have your judgment on it and 
your blame, too .... will be beneficial to me and my art, and be accepted 
as gladly as the highest praise. 

Your Excellency's 

Great admirer 

Ludwig van Beethoven. ^ 

^Goethe's answer to this letter is printed in the Weimar Collection of the poet's 
correspondence. Vol. XXII, No. 615. It is worth producing here: 

Carlsbad, June 25, 1811. 
Your friendly letter, very highly esteemed Sir, was received through Herr von 
Oliva much to my pleasure. For the kindly feelings which it expresses towards me I am 

198 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The music to "Egmont" was not published till January, 1812, 
and Goethe had to wait a long time before he was able to form an 
opinion concerning it. This was not Beethoven's fault, however; 
on October 9, 1811, we find him writing to Breitkopf and Hartel: 

Do send the whole whole [sic] score copied at my expense for aught 
I care (the score, that is) to Goethe, how can a German publisher be so 
discourteous, so rude to the first of German poets? Therefore, quick 
with the score to Weimar. 

This injunction was not obeyed, and on January 28, 1812, 
Beethoven makes another urgent request: 

I therefore again beg of you humbly to take care of these letters — 
and with the letter to Goethe i to send the Egmont (score), but not in the 
customary way with here and there a piece wanting, etc., but properly, 
this cannot be postponed longer, I have pledged my word and am the 
more particular to have the pledge redeemed when I can compel some- 
body else, like you, to do it — ha, ha, ha ! You deserve that I employ such 
language towards you, towards such a sinner who if I had my way would 
walk in a hairy shirt of penance for all the flagitiousness practised on my 

Beethoven had had the intention of sending the score of the 
"Egmont" music to Goethe from the moment he began on it, as 
appears from a memorandum on the autograph manuscript of the 
Quartet in E-flat, Op. 74, written in 1809: "Score of Egmont to 
Goethe at once." 

On the 28th of February, Beethoven sent his friend Mahler 
an invitation to a concert. Mahler accepted the invitation and 
received a ticket "extra-ordinaire," signed "B^ de Neuwirth," 
admitting him free to three midday concerts on Thursdays, 
February 28, March 14 and 28. Beethoven's elasticity of tem- 

heartily grateful and I can assure you that I honestly reciprocate them, for I have never 
heard any of your works performed by expert artists or amateurs without wishing that 
I might sometime have an opportunity to admire you at the pianoforte and find delight 
in your extraordinary talents. Good Bettina Brentano surely deserves the friendly 
sympathy which you have extended to her. She speaks rapturously and most affection- 
ately of you and counts the hours spent with you among the happiest of her life. 

I shall probably find the music which you have designed for Egmont when I return 
home and am thankful in advance — for I have heard it spoken of with praise by several, 
and purpose to produce it in connection with the play mentioned on our stage this winter, 
when I hope thereby to give myself as well as your numerous admirers in our neighbor- 
hood a great treat. But I hope most of all correctly to have understood Herr von Oliva, 
who has made us hope that in a journey which you are contemplating you will visit 
Weimar. I hope it will be at a time when the court as well as the entire musical public 
will be gathered together. I am sure that you would find worthy acceptance of your 
services and aims. But in this nobody can be more interested than I, who, with the 
wish that all may go well with you, commend myself to your kind thought and thank 
you most sincerely for all the goodness which you have created in us. 

'This second letter does not seem to have been preserved. 

The Pl\noforte Trio in B-fk-vt 199 

perament therefore was doing him good service in enabling him to 
recover from the crushing blow of the preceding year; he was now 
able not only to find diversion and amusement in society, the 
theatre and the concertroom, but the spirit of composition was 
again awakened. In three weeks — March 3rd to the 26th — 
he produced the glorious B-flat Trio, Op. 97, which had been 
sketched in 1810. 

There were now, or soon to be, in the hands of Breitkopf 
and Hartel's engravers the Pianoforte Concerto, Op. 73, the 
Fantasia, Op. 80, the Sonate "Les Adieux," Op. 81a, the Ariettes 
and Songs, Op. 82 and 83, and the "Christus am Olberg." 
The revision of these works for the press, with the correction of the 
proofs and his duties to the Archduke, are all the professional 
labors of Beethoven in these months of which we find any trace. 
Hence, that high appreciation of his greatness, which induced his 
admirers and friends even then to attach such value to the most 
trivial written communications from him as to secure their 
preservation, now does us excellent service; for — the dates of the 
Trio excepted — his correspondence furnishes the only materials 
for the history of the first half of this year. To this we turn. 

There is a note, which may be dated about the end of March, 
apologizing to the Archduke for his absence, on the ground of 
having been for two weeks again with his "tormenting headache.'* 
"During the festivities for the Princess of Baden (March 5-12), 
and because of the sore finger of Your Imp. Highness," he adds, 
"I began to work somewhat industriously, of which, among other 
things, a new Trio for the piano is a fruit.'* Soon after he sends 
the new Trio to the Archduke to have it copied, "but only in your 
palace, as otherwise one is never safe from theft." He proceeds 

I am improving and in a few days I shall again have the honor to 
wait upon you for the purpose of making up for lost time. I am always 
anxiously concerned when I cannot be as zealously and as often as I 
should wish with Your Imperial Highness. It is surely true when I say 
that it causes me much suffering, but I am not likely to have so bad 
an attack again soon. Keep me graciously in your memory. Times 
will come when I shall show you two and threefold that I am worthy 
of it. 

These professions may well excite a smile; for "it is surely 
true" when we say, that his duties to the Archduke had already 
become extremely irksome; and that the necessity of sacrificing 
in some small degree to them his previous independence grew 
daily more annoying and vexatious; so much so that, in fact, he 

200 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

availed himself of any and every excuse to avoid them. The 
Archduke made a point of adding a complete collection of Beet- 
hoven's music to his lilDrary; and the master lent his aid in this 
both by presenting all his new productions in manuscript and in 
giving titles of older printed works — gaining thereby a secure 
depository for his compositions, where they were ever at his 
service. Thus (May 18) he sends for the Sonata "Das Lebewohl, 
etc.," "as I haven't it myself and must send the corrections"; 
some time after for the Scottish songs, "as two numbers, one in 
my handwriting, have been lost and they must be copied again 
so that they may be sent away."^ 

Here is the place for a letter to Breitkopf and Hartel: 

Vienna, May 6th. 
Errors — errors — you yourselves are one large error — here I must 
send my copyist, there I must go myself if I wish that my works shall not 
appear — as a mere error — it appears as if the musical tribunal at L. was 
unable to produce a single decent proof-reader, besides which you send 
out the works before you receive the corrections — at least in the case of 
larger works with various parts you might count the measures — but the 
Fantasia shows how this is done — look in the overture to Egmont, where 
a whole measure is missing. 

^At this point in the biography, Thayer, believing that the broken marriage 
engagement which had had so powerful an effect on Beethoven's spirits and intellectual 
energies in 1810 had been one entered into with Countess Therese Brunswick, introduces 
the letters to Gleichenstein and makes the following comments, which the English 
Editor prefers to introduce in a foot-note rather than to put them in the body of the text, 
as is done in the second German edition, and give them a false interpretation: ''The al- 
lusion to Gleichenstein's marriage with the younger of the sisters Malfatti, which took 
place near the end of May, sufficiently indicates the date of these notes; and the state- 
ment made in a former chapter — that Beethov'en once offered his hand in marriage to 
the elder, Therese — accounts satisfactorily for the strong excitement under which they 
were written; for, that this offer was not made before this time (1811) has been — nor 
after, soon will be — -made clear. 

"There is nothing inconsistent with ordinary experience and observation — certainly 
not with Beethoven's character as a lover — in placing this occurrence here, a year after 
the failure of the marriage project. His weakness was not in seeking a wife, for this was 
wise and prudent, but in the selection of the person; in imagining that the young girl's 
admiration for the artist — her respect and regard for the friend of her parents and of 
Gleichenstein — had with increasing years (she was now nineteen) grown into a warmer 
feeling; and in misconceiving the attentions, civilities and courtesies extended to him 
by all the members of the family, as encouragement to a suit, the possibility of which 
had, probably, never entered the mind of any one of them. .\s Gleichenstein could not 
have been ignorant of his friend's recent love-troubles, one may well conceive the sur- 
prise, dismay and perplexity, which this sudden whim must have caused him. It 
placed him in a dilemma of singular difficulty. How he escaped from it, there are no means 
of knowing; the affair was, however, so managed, that the rejection of Beethoven's pro- 
posal caused no interruption — or at most a temporary one — in the friendly relations of all 
the parties immediately concerned. .\t this distance of time and in the feeble light 
afforded us, the whole matter has all the appearance of a mere whimsical episode in the 
composer's life causing hira some fleeting disquiet and mortification; but there is no 
reason to infer that his disappointment was either very severe or very lasting. If, 
however, this be a mistaken view, it was all the more fortunate that a previous engage- 
ment now forced him to turn his thoughts again to composition and gave him no leisure 
to play the love-lorn Corydon." 

Music for *'The Ruins of Athens" 201 

— Here the list of errors ( ). . , . Make as many errors as you 
please, permit as many errors as you please — you are still highly es- 
teemed by me, it is the custom of men that we esteem them because they 
have not made still greater errors. 

About this time Gottfried Chr. Hiirtel's wife died, and on May 
20th Beethoven wrote to him a letter of condolence in which he 
said: "It appears to me that in view of such a separation which 
confronts nearly every husband one ought to be dissuaded from 
entering this state." To a suggestion made by his publishers he 
replies: "What you say about an opera, would surely be desirable, 
the directors, too, would pay well for one, the conditions are just 
now unfavorable, it is true, but if you will write me what the poet 
demands I will make inquiry concerning the matter ; I have written to 
Paris for books, successful melodramas, comedies, etc. (for I do not 
dare to write an original opera with any of our local poets), which I 
shall then have adapted — O, poverty of intellect — and pocket!" 

The new theatre at Pesth was so far advanced in 1810, that 
the authorities began their preliminary arrangements for its 
formal opening on the Emperor's name-day, October 4th, 1811, 
by applying to Heinrich von Collin to write an appropriate drama, 
on some subject drawn from Hungarian history, for the occasion. 
"The piece was to be associated with a lyrical prologue and a 
musical epilogue." "The fear that he could not complete the 
work within the prescribed time and that his labors would be 
disturbed, compelled Collin to decline the commission with 
thanks." The order was then given to Kotzebue, who accepted 
it and, with characteristic rapidity, responded with the prologue 
"Ungarn's erster Wohltater" (Hungary's first Benefactor), the 
drama "Bela's Flucht" (Bela's Flight), and the epilogue "Die 
Ruinen von Athen" (The Ruins of Athens). As Emperor Franz 
had twice fled from his capital within five years, it is not surprising 
that " 'Bela's Flight' for various reasons cannot be given" and 
gave place to a local piece ("The Elevation of Pesth into a Royal 
Free City"). Kotzebue's other two pieces were accepted and sent 
to Beethoven in May of this year. The composition of the music 
to them was the engagement above mentioned, and, of course, 
formed his principal employment during the summer. 

Hartl had now retired from the direction of the Court Theatres, 
and Lobkowitz and Palffy were again at the helms respectively 
of the theatre next to the Karnthnerthor and that An-der-Wien. 
Beethoven was busy with dramatic compositions and so, very 
naturally, the project of another operatic work was revived. He 
had also obtained a subject that pleased him — a French melodrama. 

202 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

"Les Ruines de Babylon" — probably from the Prussian Baron 
Friedr. Job. Drieberg. This composer, much more favorably 
known for his researches into ancient Greek music than for his 
operas, had been five years in Paris, "where he studied composi- 
tion under Spontini and probably for a short time also under 
Cherubini," and now for two years in Vienna. 

A series of notes from Beethoven to Drieberg, Treitschke 
and Count Palffy, written in June and July, 1811, show how the 
operatic project was shaping itself in his mind. On June 6, he is 
anxious to know if Treitschke has read the book, and wishes to 
re-read it himself before beginning work on it; to the same on July 
13, he writes that he has now received the translation of the melo- 
drama with directions from Palffy to discuss it wath him. He 
expresses dismay to Palffy on July 11, because he has heard that 
a benefit performance of the melodrama "Les ruines de Babilone" 
is projected, sets forth how hard he had worked to find a suitable 
libretto, as he had in this, and how much more desirable it would 
be to have it given as an opera; and finally hopes that Palffy will 
forbid the intended performance. 

"It is said," writes the correspondent of the "x\llg. Mus. 
Zeit." under date January 8, "that Beethoven may next Spring 
undertake a journey to Italy for the purpose of restoring his health, 
which has suffered severely during the last few years." One 
effect of his maladies was to produce long-continued pains in the 
head, and it was finally thought best by his physician, Malfatti, to 
abandon the journey and try the waters of Teplitz. This Beet- 
hoven decided to do and to take with him as friend and companion 
young Oliva. In a letter to Count Brunswick he thanks him 
for agreeing to make the journey with him, and tells him that 
on the advice of his physician he must spend two whole months 
at Teplitz until the middle of August, wherefore he could not 
accompany the Count. He adds: "I pray you so to arrange your 
affairs as to be here [i. e., Vienna] at the latest by July 2 or 3, as 
otherwise it will be too late for me, and the doctor is already 
grumbling that I am w^aiting so long, although he himself says 
that the companionship of such a dear good friend w^ould benefit 
me." In another letter he says: "I cannot accept your refusal; 
I have permitted Oliva to go away alone, and on your account; I 
must have some trusted one at my side if everyday life is not to 
become burdensome. ... As I do not know how you came to have 
the portrait^ it would be best if you were to bring it with you, no 

'It is not a violent presumption that the portrait referred to here was that of Count 
Brunswick's sister Thcrese; at least there is strong support for it in a letter published by 

Work on Thomson's Commission 203 

doubt a sympathetic artist will be found who will copy it for 
friendship's sake." 

Brunswick did not come to Vienna, where Beethoven re- 
mained till the end of July, as we see from a note to Zmeskall after 
the return from Teplitz and a letter to Breitkopf and Kartel after 
he had been at the watering-place three weeks. Meanwhile 
Beethoven worked on the Scottish Songs for Thomson and an- 
nounced their completion on July 20, in a letter in which he com- 
plains that, because the three copies of the 53 songs which he had 
previously sent to Thomson had not been received, he had been 
obliged practically to rewrite them from his sketches — which may 
have been a somewhat exaggerated statement of the facts. In 
it, furthermore, he says: "Your offer of 100 ducats in gold for the 
three sonatas is accepted for your sake and I am also willing to 
compose three quintets for 100 gold ducats; but for the dozen 
English songs my price is 60 ducats in gold (for four songs the 
price is 25 ducats). For the cantata on the naval battle in the 
Baltic sea, I ask 50 ducats; but on condition that the text contains 
no invectives against the Danes, otherwise I cannot undertake it.^ 

Marie Lipsius (La Mara) in Breitkopf and Hartel's "Mittheilungen" for March, 1910 
(p. 4102) . It is from Beethoven to Therese Brunswick, the original of which has not been 
found, but which exists in the form of a transcript in a letter written by Therese to her 
sister Josephine, dated February 2, 1811, now in the possession of Theresa's grandniece, 
Irene de Gerando-Teleki. The letter reads as follows: 

"Through Franz I have also received a souvenir of our noble Beethoven which 
gave me much joy; I do not mean his sonatas, which are very beautiful, but a little 
writing which I will immediately copy literally: 

" 'Even without prompting, people of the better kind think of each other, this is the 
case with you and me, dear and honored Therese; I still owe you grateful thanks for your 
beautiful picture and while accusing myself as your debtor I must at the same time 
appear before you in the character of a beggar in asking you if perchance you feel the 
genius of painting stirring within you to duplicate the little hand-drawing which I was 
unlucky enough to lose. It was an eagle looking into the sun, I cannot forget it; but 
do not think that I think of myself in such a connection, although it has been ascribed to 
me, many look upon a heroic play without being in the least like it. Farewell, dear 
Therese, and think occasionally of your truly revering friend 

Beethoven.' " 

Therese complied with Beethoven's request. On February 23 she admonished her 
sister: "My request to you, dear Josephine, is to reproduce that picture which you alone 
are able to do; it would not be possible for me to create anything of the kind." And 
later she repeats in French: "You have told me nothing about Beethoven's eagle. May 
I answer that he shall receive it.^" If the picture referred to by Beethoven in his letter 
to the Countess was in his possession before February 11, 1811, as appears from the 
Countess' letter to her sister, how came it to be in the hands of Count Brunswick in 
July.' Here is another unsolved riddle. 

iThis letter, in French with Beethoven's autograph signature, is preserved in the 
British Museum. The cantata referred to was to have been a setting of Campbell's 
"Battle of the Baltic." Returning to England from the Continent in 1801, the poet saw 
the preparations for the Battle of Copenhagen. Campbell was highly esteemed in 
Germany, especially by Goethe and Freiligrath, the latter of whom imitated his "The 
Last Man." 

204 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

.... I will not fail to send you the arrangements of my sym- 
phonies in a very short time, and will gladly undertake the 
composition of an oratorio if the words be noble and distinguished 
and the honorarium of 600 ducats in gold be agreeable to you." 
Beethoven arrived in Teplitz about August 1, possibly a day 
or two earlier, and for three weeks was chiefly concerned with his 
cure and the correction of proofs, as appears from a letter, dated 
on August 23, to Breitkopf and Hartel. In this, speaking about 
the "Christus am Olberg," he says: 

Here and there the text must remain as in the original. I know that 
the text is extremely bad, but after one has conceived a unit out of even 
a bad text, it is difficult to avoid spoiling it by individual changes, and 
if great stress be laid upon a single word it must be left, and he is a bad 
composer who does not know how or try to make the best possible thing 
out of a bad text, and if this is the case a few changes will certainly not 
improve the whole. 

He has words of approval for Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and 
of dispraise for Italian musicians in general, as see: 

The favorable reception of Mozart's "Don Juan" rejoices me as 
much as if it were my own work. Although I know plenty of unpre- 
judiced Italians who render justice to the German, the backwardness and 
easy-going disposition of the Italian musicians are no doubt responsible 
for the same deficiencies in the nation; but I have become acquainted 
with many Italian amateurs who prefer our music to their Paisiello, etc. 
(I have been more just to him than his own countrymen.) 

Varnhagen von Ense, then a young man of 25 years and 
lieutenant in the Austrian service, came from Prague to Teplitz 
this summer to pass a few wrecks with "The goddess of his heart's 
most dear delight," Rahel Levin. In his "Denkwurdigkeiten" 
we first meet Beethoven since his letter to Thomson — a solitary 
rambler in the Schlossgarten at Teplitz, whither, as Brunswick 
could not or would not accompany him, he had journeyed alone. 
Varnhagen was with Beethoven every day and came into more 
intimate relations with him through his eager desire to write texts 
for him for dramatic compositions or to revise such texts. With 
Tiedge and the Countess von der Recke, Beethoven formed a 
warm friendship. Varnhagen wrote to Rahel: "Only Oliva could 
I endure about me for any length of time; he was sympathetic, but 
deeply depressed because of violent altercations which he had with 
Beethoven." From the source of these communications we also 
learn that Varnhagen was expected to adapt an opera text for 
Beethoven and to revise and improve another. In a letter of 
September 18, Varnhagen himself wrote to Rahel as follows on the 

Beethoven as Cupid's Messenger 205 

subject: "I may translate a French piece as an opera for Beethoven; 
the other text might be written later, but this contains the entire 
scenic arrangement. It is entitled 'Giafar' and might bring me 
from 8 to 10 ducats." But later, "Of Beethoven and Oliva I 
hear and see nothing; the latter must have been unable to make 
anything out of the opera which I was to make from a French 
melodrama and which, unfortunately, another had begun." 

Soon after Beethoven's arrival in Teplitz there must have 
occurred the incident of Beethoven's visit to the grave of Seume, 
which was referred to in a previous chapter in connection with the 
C-sharp minor Sonata. Seume had died on June 13, 1810, at 
Teplitz. There were other visitors, not mentioned by Varnhagen, 
with whom Beethoven formed relations more or less cordial and 
intimate. One was the Royal Imperial Gubernialrath and 
Steyermarkischer Kammerprokurator Ritter von Varena of Gratz; 
another was Ludwig Loewe, the actor, just then engaged for the 
theatre at Prague. "Thereby hangs a tale." 

Loewe had an honorable love-affair with Therese, the daughter of 
the landlord of the inn "Zura Stern" in Teplitz. For ''this reason,'* 
as Loewe told this author's informant, "he always came to the inn after 
the guests had departed; Beethoven, being hard of hearing and melan- 
choly, for this reason always came later, so that he would meet nobody. 
The landlord, father of the girl, discovered their relations, took Loewe to 
task, and the latter voluntarily agreed to remain away in order to spare 
the girl, whom he dearly loved. After a time he met Beethoven in the 
Augarten, and the latter, who was warmly attached to him, asked him 
why he no longer came to the Stern. Loewe told him of his misfortune 
and asked the composer if he would carry a letter to Therese. Beethoven 
not only agreed in the friendliest manner to do so, but also offered to 
see that he got an answer, and thereafter cared for the correspondence." 
Loewe did not know when Beethoven departed from Teplitz; he himself 
went to fill his engagement at Prague. "The lovers pledged each other 
to fidelity, but a few weeks later Loewe received intelligence of the death 
of his Therese." 

Another visitor at Teplitz was Prince Kinsky; and this gave 
the composer an opportunity to obtain the arrears of his annuity. 
On the still existing envelope of the contract of 1809 is written: 
"Kinsky am letzten August behoben." Another was Amalie 
Sebald, who had come with Countess von der Recke from Berlin, 
a member of a family who for years had furnished members to 
Fasch's Singakademie, where she had appeared as a solo singer. 
She was said to have "a fascinatingly lovely singing voice." 
Among the friends of Carl Maria von Weber when he was in 
Berlin in 1812, were Amalie Sebald and her sister Auguste, also 
"highly musical" and a singer. For Amalie, Weber conceived a 

206 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

warm and deep affection; and now Beethoven was taken an un- 
resisting captive by her charms. She is mentioned — the reader 
will note how familiarly — in this letter to Tiedge, dated Teplitz, 
September 6, 1811: 

Every day the following letter to you, you, you, has floated in my 
mind; I wanted only two words at parting, but not a single word did I 
receive; the Countess sends (through another) a feminine handgrasp; 
that at least is something to talk about and for it I kiss her hands in my 
thoughts, but the poet is dumb. Concerning Amalie, I know at least that 
she is alive. Every day I give myself a drubbing for not having made 
your acquaintance earlier in Teplitz. It is abominable to know the good 
for a short time and at once to lose it again. Nothing is more insufferable 
than to be obliged to reproach one's self with one's own mistakes. I 
tell you that I shall probably be obliged to stay here till the end of this 
month ; write me only how long you will still stay in Dresden ; I may feel 
disposed to take a jump to the Saxon capital; on the day that you went 
away from here I received a letter from my gracious Wiesbadenian Arch- 
duke, that he will not remain long in Moravia and has left it for me to 
say whether or not I will come; this I interpreted to the best of my wishes 
and desires and so you see me still within these walls where I sinned so 
deeply against you and myself; but I comfort myself with the thought that 
if you call it a sin I am at least a downright sinner and not a poor one. . . . 
Now fare as well as poor humanity may; to the Countess a right tender 
yet reverential handgrasp, to Amalie an ardent kiss when no one sees us, 
and we two embrace each other like men who are permitted to love and 
honor each other; I expect at least a word without reserve, and for this 
I am a man. 

The desire here expressed to visit his new friends in Dresden, 
could not be gratified, owing to the necessity of completing and 
forwarding the music composed for the opening of the Pesth 
theatre. How long Beethoven remained in Teplitz cannot be said 
with exactness, though there is evidence in a couple of letters to 
Breitkopf and Hartel and Countess von der Recke which, taken 
in connection with an established incident of his journey, fixes 
the date approximately. The letter to Breitkopf and Hartel of 
October 9, 1811, has so large an interest on other accounts as to 
merit translation and publication: 

From here a thousand excuses and a thousand thanks for your 
pleasant invitation to Leipsic; it pained me greatly not to be able to follow 
my inclination to go there and to surrounding places, but this time there 
was work in every direction, the Hungarian Diet is (in session), there is 
already talk that the Archduke is to become primas of Hungary and aban- 
don the Bishopric of Olmlitz; I have offered to the Archduke, who as 
primas of Hungary will have an income of not less than 3 millions, to go 
through a clean million on my own account (it is understood that I would 
therewith set all the good musical spirits into action in my behalf); in 
Teplitz I received no further news, as nothing was known of my purpose 

Breitkopf and Hartel Arraigned 207 

to leave the place, I think concerning the journey which I am contem- 
plating that in view of my attachment for him I must yield (though not 
without some unwillingness), the more since I may be needed at festivi- 
ties; therefore, having chosen the pro, quick to Vienna, where the first 
thunderous proclamation that I heard was that my gracious lord had 
given up all thoughts of priesthood and priestly activities and nothing 
is to come of the whole business. 

It is said that he is to become a general (an easy thing to under- 
stand, you know) and I am to be Quartermaster-General in the Battle 
which I do not intend to lose — what do you say to that? The Hungarians 
provided me with another incident; in stepping into my carriage to go to 
Teplitz, I received a parcel from Of en (Bud a) with the request to compose 
something for the opening of the new theatre at Pesth; after spending 
three weeks in Teplitz, feeling fairly well I sat down, in defiance of my 
doctor's orders, to help the Mustachios, who are heartily well disposed 
towards me, sent my packet thither on September 13, under the impression 
that the performance was to come off on the 1st of 8ber, whereas the 
matter is put off for a whole month. » I received the letter in which this 
was intimated, through a misunderstanding, only after my arrival here, 
and yet this theatrical incident determined me to go to Vienna. Mean- 
while, postponed is not abandoned, I have tasted of travel, it has done 
me great good, now I should like at once to go away again — I have just 
received the Lebewohl, etc., I see after all you have given French titles 
to other copies, why, lebe wohP is surely something very different from 
les adieux, the former we say heartily to a single person, the latter to whole 
congregations, whole cities — since you permit me to be criticized so 
shamefully you must submit to the same treatment, you would also have 
needed fewer plates and the turning of the pages which has now been 
made very difficult would have been easier, and with this Basta — But 
how in the name of heaven did you come to dedicate my Fantasia with Or- 
chestra to the King of Bavaria? Do answer me that at once; if you are 
thereby going to procure me an honorable gift, I will thank you, such a 
thing is hardly agreeable to me, did you, possibly, dedicate it yourself ? 
what is the connection, one is not permitted to dedicate things to kings 
without being requested — and then there was no dedication of the Leheioohl 
to the Archduke, why were not the year, day and date printed as I wrote 
them, in the future you will agree in writing to retain all superscrip- 
tions unchanged as I write them. Let whomsoever you please review 
the oratorio and everything else, I am sorry that I ever said a word about 
the miserable business, who can mind what such a reviewer says when he 
sees how the most wretched scribblers are elevated by them and how 
they treat most insultingly art works to which they cannot at once 
apply their standard as the shoemaker does his last, as indeed they must 
do because of their unfitness — if there is anything to be considered in 
connection with the oratorio it is that it is my first and early work in this 
form, was composed in 14 days amidst all possible tumult and other un- 
pleasant alarming circumstances (my brother was mortally ill). 

Rochlitz, if I am not mistaken, spoke unfavorably concerning the 
chorus of disciples "Wir haben ihn gesehen" in C major even before it had 

'It was four months before the performance took place. 
^Fare well. 

208 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

been given to you for publication; he called it comic, an impression which 
here at least was not shown by the local public and amongst my friends 
there are also critics; that I should write a very different oratorio now, 
than then, is certain — and now criticize as long as you please, I wish you 
much pleasure, and if it should hurt a little like the sting of a gnat it will 
soon be over, and then the whole thing is a little joke cri- cri- cri- cri- 
cri- crit- i- i- i- i- size- size. Not in all eternity, that you cannot do, herewith 
God be with you. ... 

Tw^o days later he WTote letters of apology for his sudden 
departure to Elise von der Recke and Tiedge, promising the former 
a setting of one of her poems. From the letters to Breitkopf and 
Hartel and Tiedge, it would appear that Beethoven composed the 
music to "The Ruins of Athens" and "King Stephen" wathin a 
month and sent it to its destination on Monday, September 16, 
and then departed from Teplitz without saying farewell to his 
friends. From Varnhagen's "Denkwiirdigkeiten" w^e learn that 
"Beethoven, who returned to Vienna from Teplitz with his friend 
and mine, Oliva, did not remain long in Prague"; and from the 
correspondence with Rahel (II, p. 154), that Oliva went on to Vienna 
on September 23, without Beethoven, who made a rather wide 
detour to visit Lichnowsky. Of this visit we learn in one of Jahn's 
notices, namely: "In the year 1811, B. was at Prince Lichnowsky's 
on his estate Gratz near Troppau. The Mass in C was performed 
at Troppau, for which everything possible w^as drummed up; the 
master of athletics w^as put at the tympani; in the Sanctus, 
Beethoven himself had to show him how to play the solo. 
The rehearsals lasted three days. After the performance Beet- 
hoven improvised on the organ for half an hour to the astonish- 
ment of every one; Fuchs was the soprano soloist." Beethoven 
returned to Vienna refreshed and invigorated both in body and 
mind; and something of his old frolicsome humor again enlivens 
his notes to Zmeskall: He expects him to dine with him at the 
Swan (which was at that time exceptional, as Beethoven had his 
own cook) ; he begs for more quills, and promises shortly a whole 
parcel of them, so that Zmeskall "will not have to pull out his 
own"; he may receive "the great decoration of the Order of the 
'Cello"; and so on. 

Beethoven's notes to Zmeskall are a barometer that indicates 
very correctly the rising and sinking of his spirits; they were now 
high — at composition point — and, as the Archduke did not return 
from Pressburg until the 7th November, he had at least one month 
for continuing without hindrance the studies, whatever they were, 
that followed the completion of the music for Pesth. In our 

A Season in Financial Doldrums 209 

judgment they are those, which occupy the last leaves of the 
sketchbook (Fetter's) partly filled in the Spring of 1809. ^ 

There was no call nor special inducement for the immediate 
completion of any orchestral work. Since the "Egmont" Overture 
and the "Pastoral" Symphony, produced by Schuppanzigh in 
May, and the "Coriolan" Overture at a charity concert on July 
14, there is but one notice of the performance of any one of Beet- 
hoven's greater compositions, and even this (November 15) is very 
doubtful. In truth, this was no season for grand musical enter- 
tainments with a view to private emolument. The Finance 
Patent of February shed its baleful influence on the just and the 
unjust and compelled all classes alike to study and practise 
economy. Even the old favorite of the Vienna public, Franz 
Clement, returning from a musical tour in Russia, and Sebastian 
Meier, "although Handel's 'Acis and Galatea' was performed" in 
their annual Akademies, "had few hearers." Two or three 
virtuosos were able to fill small halls; but no performances on a 
grand scale were ventured, except for charities; at these the wealthy 
appeared in force, it being a pleasant and fashionable method of 
doing something to alleviate the general distress. Beethoven 
was not the man to hasten his works to completion when there 
was no prospect of making either in public or in private any present 
use of them. 

The ascertained compositions of this year were: 

I. Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97. 

II. Music to "Die Ruinen von Athen," Epilogue by A. von Kotzebue. 

III. Music to "Konig Stephan, Ungarn's erster Wohlthater," a 

Prologue by A. von Kotzebue. 

IV. Song by Stoll, "An die Geliebte." 

The publications: 

I. Grand Concerto four le Pianoforte avec accompagnement de 
rOrchestre compose et dedie a son Altesse Imperiale Rodolphe Archiduc, etc. 
Op. 73. E-flat. Breitkopf and Hartel, in February. 

II. Four Ariettas and a Duet. Op. 82. (With Italian and German 
words: "Dimmi ben mio," "T'intendo," "Che fa, che fa il mio bene," 
"Che fa il mio bene" and "Odi I'aura.") Breitkopf and Hartel, March. 

HI. Overture to Goethe's "Egmont." Op. 84. Orchestral parts. 
Breitkopf and Hartel, March. 

IV. Fantasia for Pianoforte, Orchestra and Chorus; dedicated to 
Maximilian Joseph, King of Bavaria. Op. 80. Breitkopf and Hartel, 

'Nottebohm contends that the book extends from the end of 1811 to the beginning 
of 1813. See "Zweit. Beeth.," pp. 289, 290. 

210 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

V. Les Adieux, V Absence et le Retour. Sonate pour le Pianoforte 
composee et dediee a son Altesse Imperiale VArchiduc Rodolphe, etc. Op. 81. 
E-flat. Breitkopf and Hartel, July. 

VI. Three Songs by Goethe with Pianoforte accompaniment. 
Dedicated to Princess Kinsky. ("Trocknet nicht," "Was zieht mir das 
Herz," "Kleine Blumen, kleine Blatter.") Op. 83. Breitkopf and 
Hartel, October, 

VII. "Christus am Olberg." Oratorio. Op. 85. Score. Breit- 
kopf and Hartel, October. 

Chapter XII 

The Year 1812 — Beethoven's Finances — The Austrian 
"Finanzpatent" — Beethoven and Graz — Second Sojourn 
in TepHtz — Beethoven and Goethe — AinaUe Sebald — 
Beethoven in Linz — Meddles with his Brother^s Domestic 
Affairs — Rode and the Sonata, Op. 96 — Spohr — Malzel 
and his Metronome — The Canon to Malzel. 

BEETHOVEN must again, for the present, be made his own 
biographer. The selections from his correspondence taken 
for this purpose will all gain in interest and perspicuity by 
first giving the notes to Zmeskall and the Archduke so as to afford 
a sort of background for the more important ones, and by intro- 
ducing here the explanations which numerous allusions demand in 
a short series of observations. Schindler writes in 1840: 

In 1811, the Austrian Finanzpatent reduced these 4000 florins to one- 
fifth [the reference being to Beethoven's annuity]; [and in I860]: How 
severely our composer was hit by it is seen in the circumstance that also 
all contracts which had to do with paper money were reduced to one- 
fifth of the specified sum. In accordance with this Beethoven's annuity 
of 4000 florins in bank-notes became subject to reduction. It was 
reduced to 800 florins in paper money. 

An error of some kind must be here involved. This seems so 
obvious and palpable, as to render it hardly credible that, in all 
the long years since 1840, it has not caught the attention of some 
one writer on Beethoven and induced him to cast his eye for a 
moment upon the Patent itself. The depreciation of a national 
paper currency to null and its subsequent repudiation by the 
Government that emitted it is, in effect, a domestic forced loan 
equal in amount to the sum issued; and the more gradual its 
depreciation, so much the more likely is the public burden to be 
general and in some degree equalized. Such a forced loan was 
the "Continental Currency" issued by the American Congress to 
sustain the war against England in 1775-83; and such were the 
French "Assignats" a few years later; and such, to the amount of 
80 per centum of all the paper in circulation, was the substitution 



The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of notes of redemption for the bank-notes at the rate of one for 
five, by the Austrian Finanz-Patent, promulgated February 20th, 
and put in force March loth, 1811. But if Schindler be correct, 
the Imperial Royal Government went farther and committed the 
folly and injustice — with little or no advantage to itself — 
of issuing and enforcing a decree which, in its effect, simply 
confiscated 80 per centum of all domestic indebtedness — where 
the payment in specie or its equivalent was not stipulated — to the 
gain of the debtor and the loss of the creditor! According to 
more modern ideas of national economy, those ordinances of the 
Finanz-Patent of February 20, which relate to "continuing, 
periodically recurring payments of interest, incomes, farm-rents, 
pensions, maintenance moneys, annuities, etc.," were certainly 
unwise and uncalled-for; but they involved no such blunder as 
that. The Government assumed that every contract of pecu- 
niary obligation between Austrian subjects, wherein special pay- 
ment or its equivalent was not stipulated, was payable in bank- 
notes; and that the real indebtedness under any such contract was 
in justice and equity to be determined and measured by the value 
in silver of the bank-notes at the date of the instrument. This 
second proposition is fallacious and deceptive, because such con- 
tracts rested upon the necessary presumptions that the faith 
and honor of the supreme authority were pledged to the future 
redemption of its paper at par and that the pledge would be re- 
deemed. But this was not seen or was not regarded. Consequently, 
there w^as annexed to the Finanz-Patent a table showing decimally 
the average equivalent of the silver florin in the bank-notes, 
month by month, from January, 1799 to March, 1811. This table 
was made a "Scala liber den Cours der Bancozettel nach welchem 
die Zahlungen zufolge des Paragraphs 13 und 14 des Patents 
vom 20 Hornung, 1811, zu leisten sind." ("Scale of the rate of 
exchange according to which payments are to be made in ac- 
cordance with paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Patent of February 20, 
1811.") We copy two of the months as examples: 








































Beethoven's annuity contract bore date March 1, 1809, when 
one florin in silver was equal to two and forty-eight hundredths in 
bank-notes. Hence his 4000 did not shrink to 800 but to 1612i^» 

'Kinsky, 725, 80; Archduke Rudolph, 604, 84; Lobkowitz, 282, 26. 

Legal Aspect of the Annuity Contract 213 

in paper money; but this paper money then was intended to be, 
and for some time was, equal to silver. More than this he could 
not legally demand; but the original reasons for the contract, the 
intentions of the donors and the mutual understanding of the 
parties gave him a perfect claim in equity for the full amount of 
4000 florins in notes of redemption. Nor did the princes hesitate 
to admit its justice. They were men of honor and this was a 
debt of honor. Archduke Rudolph immediately gave the necessary 
order and instructions in writing; and Beethoven's anxiety because 
the others had not yet given him the same security was justified 
by the event, although he might have expressed it rather more 

The opening of the new theatre in Pesth not having taken 
place in October as proposed, was deferred to Sunday, February 
9th, that it might bear the character of a festivity in honor of the 
Emperor's birthday (October 12th). The performances were 
repeated on the 10th and 1 1th to crowded audiences which received 
Beethoven's music to "King Stephen" and "The Ruins of Athens" 
(reported to be "very original, excellent and worthy of its master") 
with clamorous applause. Beethoven had been so favorably 
impressed with Kotzebue's texts that in January, 181''2, he applied 
to him for an opera text: 

Highly respected, highly honored Sir: 

While writing music for the Hungarians to your prologue and epi- 
logue, I could not refrain from the lively wish to possess an opera from your 
unique talent, romantic, serious, heroico-comic or sentimental, as you 
please; in short, anything to your liking I would accept with pleasure. 
True, I should prefer a big subject from history and particularly one from 
the darker periods, Attila, etc., for instance; but I should accept with 
thanks anything and any subject coming from you, from your poetical 
spirit, which I could translate into my musical. 

Prince Lobkowitz, who sends his greetings, and who now has the 
sole direction of the opera, will certainly grant you an honorarium com- 
mensurate with your deserts. Do not refuse my request, you will find 

^After the large payment for a year and a quarter which Beethoven received from 
Kinsky on July 31, 1810, the Prince continued to pay 450 florins regularly every quarter 
but on July 26 (from March to May), 1811, with the memorandum: "450 bank-notes, or 
90 florins notes of redemption," and again the same on August 30 (for June-August), 
1811; — i. e., one-fifth of the stipulated sum. It was not until the issuance of the Court 
Decree of September 13, 1811, that the more favorable rate of the above table was es- 
tablished. It is to be assumed that the payments thereafter were made in accordance 
with the scale, 185 florins in notes of redemption for 450 florins; the receipts have not 
been preserved. (See "Beethoven und Prinz Kinsky," Frimmels "II. Beethoven- 
Jahrbuch," 1909, by V. Kratochvil.) Lobkowitz's payments were suspended in Septem- 
ber, 1811, for nearly four years, his assumption of the management of the theatres 
having thrown his financial affairs into disorder and caused the sequestration of his 

214 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

that I shall always be deeply grateful for your compliance. Awaiting 
your favorable and speedy answer, I subscribe myself 

Your admirer 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 
Vienna, January 28, 1812. 

As the date of this letter plainly shows, it was sent to Breitkopf 
and Hartel together with one to Goethe, with the request that 
the two be forwarded to their destinations. 

Vienna, January 28, 1812. 
As a punishment for your absolute silence I charge you with the 
immediate delivery of these two letters; a windbag of a Livonian prom- 
ised to look after a letter to K. for me, but probably, the Livonians like 
the Russians being windbags and braggarts, he did nothing of the sort, 
although he gave himself out to be a great friend of his. ... If the 
3 songs by Goethe are not yet printed hurry with them ; I should like soon 
to present them to Princess Kynsky, one of the handsomest, stoutest 
women in Vienna — and the songs from Egmont, why are they not yet 
out, in fact why not out, out, out with the whole of E.' — do you perhaps 
want a close tacked on to an entreacte here and there, that might be, 
but have it done by a Leipsic Corrector of the Music. Zeitung, that kind 
of thing they understand like a slap in the face. Please charge the post- 
age to me — it seems to me, I hear a whisper, that you are looking out for 
a new wife, to this I ascribe all the confusion mentioned above. I wish 
you a Xantippe like the wife of the holy Greek Socrates, so that I might 
see a German Verleger, which is saying a great deal, verlegen, ja rechi in 
Verlegenheit. ^ 

Among the suflFerers by the Finanz-Pafent were the L^rsuline 
nuns at Graz, w hose institution, since 1802, had at no time less than 
50 wards and always more than 350 pupils. At this juncture they 
were excessively poor and in debt. In the hope of gaining 
them some substantial aid Beethoven's new friend, Varena, now 
wrote to him offering to pay him properly for the use of some of his 
compositions in a concert for their benefit to be given on Easter 
Sunday, March 29. Beethoven at once presented two of his new 
compositions to the Art Society of Graz for gratuitous use at 
charity concerts. At the concert on Easter Sunday there were 
eight numbers, Beethoven being represented by the overture to 
"King Stephen," the march with chorus from "The Ruins of 
Athens," the overture to "Egmont," and the Septet. The nuns 
gained on the occasion the handsome sum of 1836 fl. 24k. Vienna 

Walter Scott somewhere remarks: "It is seldom that the same 
circle of personages, who have surrounded an individual at his 
first outset in life, continue to have an interest in his career till his 

'An untranslatable pun. 

Passing of Old Friends, Coming of New 215 

fate comes to a crisis. On the contrary, and more especially if 
the events of his life be of a varied character and worth com- 
municating to others, or to the world, the hero's later connections 
are usually totally separated from those with whom he began the 
voyage, but whom the individual has outsailed, or who have 
drifted astray, or foundered on the passage." 

A few years more and this will begin to be very true of Beet- 
hoven. The old familiar names will rapidly disappear and new 
ones take their places; some half a dozen perhaps will remain 
to the end. But this is not yet. The old friends, Lichnowsky, 
Rasoumowsky, Erdody and that class, Streicher, Zizius, Breuning 
and their class, are his friends still. We see less of them, because 
Beethoven is no longer the great pianist performing in the saloons 
of the nobles, or playing his new compositions in the lodgings of 
his untitled admirers. His astonishing playing in the concert 
of December, 1808 — which completed full thirty years since his 
appearance in Cologne as a prodigy — proved to be, as it happened, 
the splendid close of his career as a virtuoso. He had surely earned 
the right to retire and leave that field to his pupils, of whom 
Baroness Ertmann and Carl Czerny were preeminent as per- 
formers of his music. In the more private concerts he had already 
long given place to the Baroness; and now Czerny began to take it 
before the public, even to the extent of introducing his last new 
composition for pianoforte and orchestra. Theodor Korner, 
lately arrived in Vienna, writes home under date February 15: 

On Wednesday, for the benefit of the Society of Noble Ladies for 
Charity, a concert and tableaux, representing three pictures by Raphael, 
Poussin and Troyes as described by Goethe in his "Elective Affinities," 
were given. The pictures offered a glorious treat, a new pianoforte con- 
certo by Beethoven failed. 

Castelli's "Thalia" gives the reason, why this noble work 
on this, its first public performance in Vienna, was so coldly 
received : 

If this composition, which formed the concert which had been 
announced, failed to receive the applause which it deserved, the reason 
is to be sought partly in the subjective character of the work, partly in 
the objective nature of the listeners. Beethoven, full of proud confidence 
in himself, never writes for the multitude; he demands understanding and 
feeling, and because of the intentional difficulties, he can receive these 
only at the hands of the knowing, a majority of whom is not to be found 
on such occasions, etc. 

That was precisely the truth. The work was out of place 
The warblings of Fraulein Sessi and Herr Siboni, and Mayseder's 


216 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

variations on the march in "Aline," were suited to the occasion 
and the audience. Instead of Beethoven's majestic work, Chapel- 
master Himmel, who had recently been in Vienna, should have 
been engaged to remain and exhibit his brilliant finger gymnastics. 

The new symphony, to which there are allusions in this 
correspondence, was the Seventh, which he took up and completed 
this spring (May 13), with the hope of producing it in a concert 
about the time of Pentecost — but the project fell through. ^ 

Explanatory of the Zmeskall correspondence, it is to be noted, 
that with the approach of the inclement season, Beethoven 
ceased to cross the wind-swept Glacis to dine with Breuning; that 
the "greatest thanks" of one of the notes is merely for keeping his 
pens in order; and that Zmeskall had been making experiments to 
determine whether the oscillations of a simple weight and string 
(without lever) might not answer as a practicable and con- 
venient metrometer. 

The works of Beethoven publicly performed in Vienna dur- 
ing this half year, so far as has been learned, were the Pianoforte 
Concerto as above stated; on March 22nd, march with chorus 
from "The Ruins of Athens," in Clement's concert; on April 16th, 
the "Coriolan" Overture in Streicher's Pianoforte Warerooms, 
conducted by Schuppanzigh — the first piece in the concert, 
which opened the way for the great performance of Handel's 
"Timotheus" in November, which in turn led to the foundation of 
the Society of the Friends of Music; on April 24th, the "Egmont" 
Overture in the Concert for the Theatrical Poor Fund ; and on May 
5th, the overture to "Prometheus," and the C minor Symphony 
in Schuppanzigh's first Augarten Morning Concert of the season. 
His (Schuppanzigh's) quartet productions were on Thursdays, at 
noon; "As it is nearly 12 o'clock and I am going to Schuppan- 
zigh's," says Beethoven in a note to Zmeskall, on Thursday, 
Febriiarv 20 — unfortunatelv onlv as an auditor. No record of 
the programmes during the season has been discovered. 

^Under date of London, 14th February, 1875, Mr. E. Speyer writes: "My father 
.... on a visit to Vienna in 18.32, made the acquaintance of the Abbe Stadler, who 
communicated to him the following curious fact in relation to Beethoven's Seventh 
Symphony, viz: Th it the theme of the Trio 

i^w f^rr \ r ^ i l Or ir m ir r 



was nothing more nor less than a Lower-Austrian Pilgrimage Hymn (Wallfahrtgesang), 
which the Abb«» himself had frequently heard sung." This correspondent's father was 
the VV. Speyer, or Speier, whose name so often appears in old volumes of the "AUg. 
Mus. Zeit." 

Rejects Imputations ox his Conduct 217 

And now turn we to the selection from the Zmeskall cor- 

(To Zmeskall) 

January 19 (extract): Unfortunately I am always too much at 
liberty and you never. 

February 2: The enclosed billet is at least 8 days old. 

Not extra-ordinary but very ordinary quill-cutter, whose virtuosity 
assuredly shows a falHng off in this specimen, these need a few new 

When will you throw off your chains, when? 

You are thinking again of me — accursed be for me the life in this 
Austrian Barbary — I shall now go mostlj' to the Swan, as I cannot 
escape too much attention in the other inns. 

Farewell, as well as I wish that you may without me. 

Most Extraordinary one we beg that your servant find some one to 
clean out the rooms, as he knows the quarters he can at once fix the price — 
but soon. 

Carnival Ragamuffin! !!!!!!!!!!!! 


February 8: Most Extraordinary, foremost Oscillator of the world 
and that without lever! ! ! ! 

We are indebted to you for the greatest thanks for having endowed 
us with a portion of your oscillatory power, we wish to thank you for the 
same in person, and therefore invite you to come to the Swan to-morrow, 
an inn whose name bears evidence that it was made for the occasion when 
the talk is about such things. 

(February 19.) Dear Z: Only yesterday did I receive written notice 
that the Archduke will pay his share in notes of redemption — I beg you 
now to note down for me approximately what you said on Saturday so 
that I may send it to the other 2. They want to give me a certificate 
that the Archduke pays in N. R., but I think this is unnecessary, the more 
since these courtiers in spite of their apparent friendship for me say that 
my demands are not just I I ! ! ! O heaven help me to bear this; I am no 
Hercules who can help Atlas bear up the world or do it in his stead. It 
was only yesterday that I heard in detail how beautifully Herr Baron 
Kraft had spoken about me at Zizius's, had judged me — never mind dear 
Z. it will not be for much longer that I shall continue the shameful manner 
in which I am living here. Art, the persecuted one, finds everywhere an 
asylum, did not Daedalus, shut up in the labyrinth invent the wings 
which carried him upivards into the air, and I, too, will find them, these 

The correspondence with the Archduke, of course including 
the notes to his "spiritual adviser," Baumeister, and his "cham- 
berlain," Schweiger, in the very profuseness of its expressions of 
devotion, awakens some mistrust of its writer's sincerity. There is 
too much of profession. True zeal in and a hearty performance of 
one's duty need few verbal attestations. 

218 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

(To Baumeister) 

March 12, 1812. 

Please send me the overture to the epilogue Ungarn's Wohlthater, it 
must be hurriedly copied in order to be sent to Gratz for use there in a 
concert for the poor. I count myself altogether too happy when my 
art is enlisted for such charitable purposes. You need, therefore, only 
tell H. I. High, our gracious lord, about it and he will certainly be glad to 
have it delivered to you, the more gladly since you know that all the 
property of my small intellectual faculties is the sole property of H. I. 
Highness — as soon as the overture is copied I will immediately return 
it to H. Imp. Highness. 

In a note to the Archduke he excuses his absence the two 
previous days because he was "unexpectedly" ill, "at just the time 
when he was about to go" to him. In another he has "oftener 
than usual" waited upon him "in the evening hour, but no one 
was to be found." In another "certain unexpected circum- 
stances prevent" his attendance "to-day, but," he says, "I shall 
make use of the gracious privilege of waiting upon you to-morrow 
evening." In still another: 

I have suffered much during the last few days, twofold I may say 
because I could not follow my sincerest desire to devote a great deal of 
time to you; but I hope I shall be through with it (I mean my illness) 
this spring and summer. 

The last of these selections affords another illustration of the 
usefulness of the Archduke's library to the composer. Its date 
has also some importance in the discussion of the famous love- 
letter; and it is the final notice of Beethoven before his departure 
from Vienna for the summer. 

(To Baumeister) 

Sunday, June 28, 1812. 
I beg of you most politely that you lend me the two trios for piano- 
forte, violin and violoncello of my composition for to-day. The first is in 
D major, the 2nd in E-flat, if I am not mistaken, H. Imp. Highness has 
written copies of them in his library. Also the sonata in A major with 
pianoforte and violoncello — separately printed— also the sonata in 
A minor with pianoforte and violin, is also only printed separately. 
You will receive everything back again to-morrow morning. 

A very interesting series of letters to Varena, and one very 
creditable to Beethoven, began at the end of January this year and 
ended, so far as is known, in 1815. Could the space be spared 
they would all be printed here; but they may be read in the 
published collections of Beethoven's letters. 

The arrangements of the Irish and Scottish songs for Thomson 
were continued in this year. A French letter to Thomson under 

Thoughts of a Visit to Exgl.\xd 219 

date February 29, 1812, chiefly devoted to business matters, yet 
contains some expressions which are characteristic of Beethoven's 
views and predilections, 

Haydn himself assured me, that he also got 4 ducats in gold for 
each song, yet he wrote only for violin and pianoforte without ritor- 
nellos or violoncello. ^ As regards Herr Kozeluch, who delivers each 
song to you for 2 ducats, I congratulate you and the English and Scotch 
publishers on a taste which approves him. In this field I esteem myself 
a little higher than Herr Kozeluch (Miserabilis), and I hope and be- 
lieve that you have sufficient discrimination to do me justice. 

He repeats his request that the texts be sent with the Scot- 
tish songs, asks if violin and violoncello are to be treated obbligato 
or if the pianoforte might compose an ensemble in itself, and 
closes, after having again demanded 9 ducats in gold, with: "we 
need the gold here, for our country is at present only a paper 
fountain, and I in particular, for I shall probably leave this country 
and go to England and then to Edinburgh in Scotland, and rejoice 
in the prospect of there making your personal acquaintaince." 

The letter to Brunswick which follows, has been printed with 
the date 1809; but in that year Beethoven was not in the Pa- 
squalati house; he was then on the most cordial terms with Oliva 
(barring the disagreement at Teplitz in 1811); and his satisfaction 
with the "honorable decree" — the annuity contract — which re- 
tained him in Vienna, was at the flood. The date, 1812, renders 
every point in the letter, except who is meant by "R," perfectly 
intelligible.2 "T" is the manuscript Trio, Op. 97; "S," the 
printed sonata, "Les Adieux, etc.," Op. 81a; "the quartet" is 
Op. 95, also in manuscript; "nothing decisive" refers to the non- 
receipt of the desired written instructions from Kinsky and 
Lobkowitz to their cashiers respecting the notes of redemption, 
and the "unhappy war" was that movement by Napoleon which 
proved to be the fatal invasion of Russia. 

The letter reads: 

Dear friend! Brother! 

I ought to have written you earlier; I did so 1000 times in my heart. 
You ought to have received the T. and S. much earlier; I cannot under- 
stand how R. could have detained these so long from you. To the best 
of my recollection I told you that I would send both sonata and trio, do as 

iRere Beethoven was mistaken. Haydn composed accompaniments for a volume 
of Scottish songs for Napier, a London publisher, without ritornellos or violoncello; he 
wrote as Beethoven wrote for Thomson — with violoncello part as well as ritornellos. 
In a later letter (of February 19) the same error is repeated. 

^Laub and Jahn read "R"; Kochel, "M." The former might be the publisher 
Rizzi, the latter Mollo. 

220 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

you feel inclined, keep the sonata or send it to Forrayi as you please, 
the quartet was designed for you long ago, my disorderliness alone is to 
blame that you receive it only now. And speaking of disorder I am 
unfortunately compelled to tell you that it still persecutes me on every 
hand, nothing decisive has been done in my affairs; the unhappy war 
may delay the final settlement still more or make the matter worse. 
At one time I resolve upon one thing, at another time upon a different 
one, unfortunately I must remain in the neighborhood until the matter 
is settled. O unhappy decree, seductive as a siren, against which I 
should have stopped my ears with wax and had myself bound so that I 
could not sign, like Ulysses. If the billows of war roll nearer here I shall 
come to Hungary; perhaps in any event, if I must care for my miserable 
self I shall no doubt beat my way through — away, nobler, loftier plans! 
Infinite are our strivings, the vulgar puts an end to all! 

Farewell dear brother, be such to me, I have no one to whom I can 
give the name, do as much good around you as the evil times will permit. 

In the future put the following directions on the coverings of letters 
to me. 

"To H. B. V. Pasqualati." 

The rascal Oliva (no noble r-s-1 however) is going to Hungary, do not 
have too much to do with him; I am glad that this connection which was 
brought about by sheer necessity, will by this be entirely broken off. — 
More by word of mouth — I am now in Baden, now here — to be inquired 
for in Baden at the Sauerhof . 

The cause of the estrangement between Beethoven and 
Oliva is hinted at in two letters from Oliva to Varnhagen. On 
March 25, Oliva writes: "I should like to write you a great deal 
about the things that sadden me, about Stoll, and Beethoven 
still more, but I must postpone it — I was ill lately and it moves me 
greatly to write about things which are so painful"; and in a letter 
of June 3, after asking Varnhagen in behalf of Beethoven to de- 
liver a letter to Prince Kinsky and seek to persuade the Prince to 
come to a decision in the matter of paying the annuity contract 
in notes of redemption, he adds: "Concerning my unfortunate 
affairs I can onh' say that Of." [Offenheimer, the Vienna banker, 
Oliva's employer, is meant] "has treated me very shabbily and 
I am compelled to seek another engagement, perhaps I shall 
accept Beethoven's renewed offer and go with him to England. 
Stoll cheated me in a very miserable manner and even sought to 
bring about a rupture with Beethoven, in which he was almost 
successful; I am completely separated from him." Beethoven's 
wrath, to which he gave expression in his letter to Brunswick, seems 
to have been assuaged and their friendship continued as before 
until the departure of Oliva for Russia in 1820. 

^"Andreas Baron von Forraj', husband of Countess Julie Brunswiek, a cousin 
of Count Franz Brunswick, was a good pianoforte player and great music lover," says 

Notable Gathering at Teplitz 221 

There is a little Trio in one movement, which bears the 
superscription in Beethoven's hand: "Vienna, June 2, ISI'2. For 
my little friend INIax. Brentano to encourage her in pianoforte 
playing." On one of his visits to the Brentanos, soon after, "the 
little maiden, whom he occasionally teased, in a fit of childish 
petulance unexpectedly poured a bottle of ice-cold water over 
his head when he was overheated."^ 

This was the year in which Beethoven allowed a mask 
to be taken, at the desire of Streicher, who wished to add his bust 
to those which already adorned his pianoforte warerooms. The 
bust was executed by Professor Klein, a pupil of the famous 
sculptor Fischer, and still adorns the hall for which it was designed. 
The effigy is the one which has been so often copied and is 
generally attributed to Dannhauser. That artist was born in 1805, 
and must have been indeed remarkably precocious, if Beethoven 
consented to have him, at the age of seven years, plaster his face 
with gypsum! In May, the son of the Corsican advocate 
Bonaparte held court at Dresden and received his father-in-law, 
Emperor Franz, Frederick William of Prussia, the princes of the 
Rheinbund, etc., etc. Before the end of June, he had crossed the 
Niemen with his half million of men on his fatal march to Moscow. 
As if from a presentiment and in the hope of the disastrous failure 
of the foolhardy invasion of Russia, Teplitz (that neutral ground, 
but central point of plot and agitation against the parvenu 
Emperor) became the scene of a virtual congress of imperial 
personages, or their representatives, accompanied by families, 
ministers and retinues. Ostensibly they met for health, recreation, 
social diversion; but views and opinions were exchanged and ar- 
rangements made for such concerted action as the result in Russia 
might render politic. Herr Aug. Rob. Hiekel, Magisterial 
Adjunct in Teplitz, has kindly communicated copious excerpts 
from the lists of arrivals that summer, from which these are 
selected, through the friendly mediation of Dr. Schebek of 
Prague, which is gratefully acknowledged: 

May 29. Emperor Franz, with a large retinue — Wrbna, Althaer, 
Kinsky, Zichy, etc., etc. 

June 4. Marie Louise, Empress of France and retinue; the Grand 
Duke of Wtirzburg and retinue. 

July 2. The Empress of Austria and household; the Duke Anton 
of Saxony, with wife and household. 

July 7. The Duke of Saxe- Weimar. 

July 14. The King of Saxony with wife and royal household. 

^Related by Court Councillor Wittescheck and confirmed by Schindler, who had 
"this fact" from Maximiliane — then Frau von Plittersdorf. 

222 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

July 25. Prince Maximilian of Saxony with wife and royal house- 

August 11, 15. Prince Wittgenstein, Baron von Humboldt, and the 
Prince of Curland, in Prussian service, etc., etc. 

Passing from the royal and diplomatic circles, we note: 

April 19. Baroness von der Recke, with Demoiselle Meissner and 
Herr Tiedge. 

Jidy 7. Herr Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer, of Vienna, lives 
in the Eiche, No. 62. ' 

July 8. Herr Carl, Prince von Lichnowsky. 

July 15. Hr. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Grand Ducal Privy 
Councillor of Weimar, etc., etc., in the Gold. Schiff, No. 116. 

July 24. Herr Ludwig Baron von Arnim, landowner, with wife, 
then his sister-in-law, Frau v. Savigny, of Berlin. 

August 5. Hr. Joachim, Baron v. Muench-Bellinghausen. 

August 7. Hr. Clemens Brentano, Partikulier of Prague. 

August 9. Frau Wilhelmine Sebald, wife of the Royal Prussian 
Commissioner of Justice, with sister Madame Sommer, of Berlin. 

August 18. Hr. Fried. Karl von Savigny, Professor, etc., of Berlin. 

August 19. Hr. Varnhagen von Ense, R. I. Lieutenant v. Vogelsang, 
of Prague. 

No hint anywhere appears that Beethoven renewed his in- 
tercourse with Tiedge and Countess von der Recke— they had, no 
doubt, departed before his arrival — nor that a meeting took place 
between him and any one of those persons who arrived on and 
between the 1st of August and the 19th of the same month. 
With Varnhagen,'- too, the meetings during the sojourn at Teplitz 
this year seem to have been few and fleeting. On June 9, Varn- 
hagen had reported to Oliva in Vienna concerning the success of 
his visit to Prince Kinsky. On July 5 Beethoven arrived in Prague 
in company with Oliva's friend Willisen. Varnhagen writes to 
Rahel on July 2: "I am writing after the arrival of Beethoven and 
Willisen." As appears from a letter from Beethoven to Princess 
Kinsky dated December 20, 1812, Beethoven called upon the 
Prince and received 60 ducats on account. Unfortunately he 
delayed the definitive settlement of the annuity matter; had he 

'Dr. Riemann, who believes that Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved" was Countess 
Therese Brunswick hut places the love-letter, or letters, in the year 1812, accounts for 
this date on the hypothesis that Beethoven reached Teplitz (whence he assumes, of 
course, that the letters were sent) on the fifth of the month but was registered on the 
seventh, on which day he was reported from his lodgings. 

^The following information about Beethoven's association with Varnhagen in the 
summer of 1812, and much that is new about Beethoven's meetings with Goethe, is Dr. 
Riemann's contribution to Thayer's biography. It is based on the correspondence 
between Varnhagen and Rahel Levin, a study: "Beethoven, Goethe und Varnhagen von 
Ense mit ungedrucktcn liriefen an Beethoven, Oliva, Varnhagen, etc.," by Dr. 
Emil Jacobs, published in the second December installment of "Die Musik," 1904, and 
the Weimar Collection of Goethe's letters. 

Beethoven Meets Goethe 223 

attended to it at once he would have been spared the negotiations 
which followed the sudden death of the Prince. 

On July 14th, Beethoven wrote a letter to Varnhagen 
from Teplitz in which he said: "There is not much to be 
said about Teplitz, few people and among the few nothing 
extraordinary, wherefore I live alone! alone! alone!" Three 
days later Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel, promising 
some corrections in the Mass in C with the words: "We say to you 
only that we have been here since the 5th of July, how are we? — on 
that point much cannot yet be said, on the whole there are not 
such interesting people here as were last year and are few — the 
multitude seems fewer than few." 

On July 19, Goethe enters Beethoven's name for the first time 
among his "visits" — no doubt those made by him. On the same 
day he writes to his wife, who had gone on to Karlsbad for a cure: 

Say to His Serene Highness Prince Friedrich, that I can never be 
with Beethoven without wishing that it were in the goldenen Strauss. 
A more self-contained, energetic, sincere artist I never saw. I can under- 
stand right well how singular must be his attitude towards the world. 

Already on the next day Beethoven made a pleasure trip with 
Goethe to Bilin, and on the 21st and 23rd Goethe spent the evening 
with Beethoven. Hence the note on the 21st, "He played delight- 
fully." As Arnim and Bettina are mentioned in the list of arrivals, 
it is easily possible that this was the evening concerning which 
Bettina reported to Piickler-Muskau. On the 27th of July, Beet- 
hoven went to Karlsbad on the advice of his physician. Dr. Stauden- 
heimer, and he did not return to Teplitz till after September 8th, 
Goethe having already journeyed to Karlsbad on August 11th. 
That there was no estrangement between them is proved by the 
letter of Goethe to Christiane advising him to give Beethoven a 
letter addressed to him; he therefore expected Beethoven to 
return, which he did not do, because Staudenheimer sent him 
further on to Franzensbrunn. Goethe's letter says: "Herr van 
Beethoven went from here to Karlsbad a few days ago; if you can 
find him, he would bring me a letter in the shortest time." On 
August 2nd, Beethoven is still looked upon as the possible courier: 
"If I receive the consignment through Beethoven I will write again, 
then nothing more will be necessary" (because Goethe himself went 
to Karlsbad). In Karlsbad Goethe and Beethoven may have met 
each other only between September 8 and 11. On September 12, 
Goethe departed; but on the 8th he had written in his journal: 
"Beethoven's arrival." 

224 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In view of these things, Beethoven's report to Archduke 

Rudolph from Franzensbrunn on August 12th, which will appear 

presently, will be read with greater interest, and the only known 

utterance of Goethe touching Beethoven in the letter to Zelter be 

viewed with different eyes: 

I made Beethoven's acquaintance in Teplitz. His talent amazed 
me; unfortunately he is an utterly untamed personality, not altogether in 
the wrong in holding the world to be detestable, but who does not make it 
any the more enjoyable either for himself or others by his attitude. He is 
very excusable, on the other hand, and much to be pitied, as his hearing 
is leaving him, which, perhaps, mars the musical part of his nature less 
than the social. He is of a laconic nature and will become doubly so 
because of this lack. 

Many things which have been reported and had so much 
of a legendary sound as to cause them to be received with doubt, 
may, under the circumstances, serve to complete the story of the 
relations between Goethe and Beethoven; such, for instance, as the 
familiar anecdote according to which, when Goethe expressed his 
vexation at the incessant greetings from passers-by, Beethoven is 
said to have replied: *'Do not let that trouble your Excellency, 
perhaps the greetings are intended for me." This is variously 
related to have occurred in a carriage at Karlsbad and in the Prater, 
and during a walk together on the old walls at Vienna; while the 
late Joseph Tiirk, the Vienna jeweler, who was in Teplitz in the 
summer of 1812, makes that place the scene of the story. It 
may, therefore, possibly have some foundation in truth. 

Rochlitz, in 1822, reporting a conversation with Beethoven, 
has him say: "In Karlsbad I got acquainted with him (Goethe)"; 
but he makes him also say: "at that time, while I was veritably 
burning with enthusiasm {so recht im Feuer sass), I also conceived 
my music for his Egmont." But this music was composed two 
years before. Beethoven's allusion here to the "Egmont" music 
certainly, and to meeting with Goethe in Karlsbad probably, if 
correctly reported, prove nothing but the truth of Schindler's 
observation: "Beethoven's memory of the past always proved to 
be very weak." Dr. Eduard Knoll, of Karlsbad, in a detailed in- 
vestigation of the dates of the visit of Goethe and Beethoven to 
Teplitz and Karlsbad — which also fixes August 6th as the date of 
the Beethoven-Polledro concert — comes to the same conclusion 
as the present writer, namely: "In all probability Beethoven 
came in contact with Goethe only in Teplitz, for during Beet- 
hoven's presence in Karlsbad, it can be proved Goethe was not 
there. But even in Teplitz the period of their mutual presence 
was a rather limited one." 

Help for Sufferers at Baden 225 

On July 26th, a large portion of the town of Baden, near 
Vienna, including the palace of Archduke Anton, the cloister of 
the Augustines, the theatre and casino, the parochial church and 
the palace of Count Esterhazy, was destroyed by a conflagration 
which broke out between noon and 1 o'clock. In all, 117 houses 
were burned. "From Karlsbad under date of August 7, it is 
reported," writes the "Wiener Zeitung" of August 29th, that 
"scarcely had the misfortune which recently befel the inhabitants 
of Baden become known here before the well-known musicians 
Herr van Beethoven and Herr Polledro^ formed the benevolent 
purpose to give a concert for the benefit of the sufferers. As 
many of the guests of high station were already prepared to 
depart and it became necessary to seize the favorable moment, 
and in the conviction that he who helps quickly helps two- 
fold, this purpose was carried out within twelve hours. . . . 
Universal and rousing applause and receipts amounting to 954 
florins, Vienna Standard, rewarded the philanthropic efforts" 
of the concert-givers. Beethoven himself gives a very different 
aspect to this concert in a letter to Archduke Rudolph: 

Franzensbrunn, August 12, 1812. 
It has long been my duty to recall myself to your memory, but my 
occupations in behalf of my health in part and partly my insignificance 
made me hesitate. In Prague I missed Y. I. H. by just a night; for 
when I went in the morning to attend upon you, you had departed the 
night before. In Toplitz I heard Turkish^ music 4 times a day, the only 
musical report which I am able to make. / ivas much together with 
Goethe. From Toplitz, however, my physician, Staudenheim, com- 
manded me to go to Karlsbad and from there here, and presumably I 
shall have to go from here again to Toplitz — what excursions! and yet 
but little certainty touching an improvement in my condition! Till 
now I have had always the best of reports concerning the state of Y. I. 
H.'s health, also your continued favorable disposition and devotion to 
the musical muse. Of an academy which I gave for the benefit of the 
city of Baden destroyed by fire with the help of Herr Polledro, Y. I. H. 
is likely to have heard. The receipts were nearly 1000 florins V. S. and 
if I had not been embarrassed in the arrangements 2000 florins might 
easily have been taken in. It was, so to speak, a poor concert for the poor. 
I found at the publisher's here only some of my earlier sonatas with 
violin, and as Polledro insisted I had to play an old one. The entire 
concert consisted of a trio played by Polledro, the violin sonata by me, 
another piece by Polledro and then an improvisation by me. Meanwhile 
I am glad that the poor Badensians benefited somewhat by the affair. 
Pray you accept my wish for your high welfare and the prayer to be 
graciously remembered by you. 

^Giovanni Battista Polledro (1781-1853), violinist, concertmaster in Dresden in 
1814, Court Chapelmaster in Turin in 1824. 

''By Turkish music is meant military music with drums, cymbals, etc. 

226 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Three days before, Beethoven had written in a letter to 
Breitkopf and Hartel : 

I must refrain from writing more, and instead splash around in the 
water again. Scarcely have I filled my interior with an ample quantity 
of it than I must have it dashed over my exterior. I will answer the rest 
of your letter soon. Goethe is too fond of the atmosphere of the Courts, more 
so than is becoming to a poet. Why laugh at the absurdities of virtuosi 
when poets who ought to be the first teachers of a nation, forget all else 
for the sake of this glitter. 

Beethoven arrived in Franzensbrunn on August 8, and on 
September 7 returned to Karlsbad, where he remained only a few 
days; after the 16th of September, he was again in Teplitz.^ His 
arrival in Franzensbrunn was simultaneous with that of the family 
Brentano from Vienna. 

Madame von Arnim in her letter to Puckler-Muskau gives 
some account of the intercourse between Goethe and Beethoven: 

They got acquainted with each other in Teplitz. Goethe was with 
him! he played for him; seeing that Goethe appeared to be greatly moved 
he said: "O, Sir, I did not expect that from you; I gave a concert in Berlin 
several years ago, I did my best and thought that I had done really well 
and was counting on considerable applause, but behold! when I had 
given expression to my greatest enthusiasm, there was not the slightest 
applause, that was too much for me. I could not understand it; but the 
riddle was finally resolved by this: the Berlin public is extremely cultured 
and waved its thanks to me with handkerchiefs wet with the tears of emo- 
tion. This was all wasted on a rude enthusiast like myself; I had thought 
that I had merely a romatic, not an artistic audience before me. But I 
accept it gladly from you, Goethe; when your poems went through my 
brain they threw off music and I was proud to think that I could try to 
swing myself up to the same heights which you had reached, but I never 
knew it in my life and would least of all have done it in your presence, 
here enthusiasm would have had to have an entirely different outlet. 
You must know yourself how good it feels to be applauded by intelligent 
hands; if you do not recognize me and esteem me as a peer, who shall do 
so.' By which pack of beggars shall I permit myself to be understood.^" 
Thus did he push Goethe into a corner, who at first did not know how he 
could set matters to rights, for he felt that Beethoven was right. The 
Empress and the Austrian archdukes were in Teplitz and Goethe was 
greatly distinguished by them, and it was by no means a matter of in- 
difference to him to disclose his devotion to the Empress; he intimated 
as much with much solemn modesty to Beethoven. "Nonsense," said 
the latter, "that's not the way; you're doing no good by such methods, 
you must plainly make them understand what they have in having you 
or they will never find out; there isn't a princess who will appreciate 
Tasso any longer than the shoe of vanity squeezes her foot — I treated 

^Dr. Riemann adds: "perhaps because he had heard that the Sebalds were in 
Teplitz"; but, as the letter to the Archduke shows, he was already expecting to be ordered 
back to Teplitz on August 12. 

Rebuking the Courtier Goethe 227 

them differently; when I was asked to give lessons to Duke Rainer, ^ he 
let me wait in the antechamber, and for that I gave his fingers a good 
twisting; when he asked me why I was so impatient I said that he had 
wasted my time in the anteroom and I could wait no longer with patience. 
After that he never let me wait again; yes, I would have showed him that 
that was a piece of folly which only shows their bestiality. I said to him: 
"You can hang an order on one, but it would not make him the least bit 
better; you can make a court councillor or a privy councillor, but not a 
Goethe or a Beethoven; for that which you cannot make and which you 
are far from being, therefore, you must learn to have respect, it will do 
you good." While they were walking there came towards them the whole 
court, the Empress and the Dukes; Beethoven said: "Keep hold of my 
arm, they must make room for us, not we for them." Goethe was of a 
different opinion, and the situation became awkward for him; he let go of 
Beethoven's arm and took a stand at the side with his hat off, while 
Beethoven with folded arms walked right through the dukes and only 
tilted his hat slightly while the dukes stepped aside to make room for him, 
and all greeted him pleasantly; on the other side he stopped and waited 
for Goethe, who had permitted the company to pass by him where he 
stood with bowed head. "Well," he said, "I've waited for you because 
I honor and respect you as you deserve, but you did those yonder too 
much honor." -^ . 

In these passages we have the substance of a large portion of 
the famous third of the Beethoven-Bettina letters. Are they an 
abstract of that letter or is the letter an expansion of them? In 
other words, the question is forced upon us: Is that letter authen- 
tic? The last paragraph of the Puckler letter affords a decisive 
answer: "Afterward Beethoven came running to us and told us 
everything, and was as happy as a child at having teased Goethe 
so greatly, etc., etc." Who were they to whom Beethoven came 
running.? They are named in Herr Hiekel's list of visitors: 
Ludwig (Achim) von Arnim, his young wife Bettina Brentano 
and Frau von Savigny, her sister! In the pseudo-letter we read: 
"Yesterday we met the entire imperial family." Therefore, if 
the letter to Puckler be true— and it bears all the marks of being 
so— and if the other be authentic, Beethoven is made to relate the 
story one day and write a long letter containing it to the same per- 
son the next! It follows: when such a letter in Beethoven's 
well-known handwriting shall be seen and accepted as authentic 
by competent judges, its genuineness may be conceded but, 
henceforth, until then, never.^ 

Beethoven returned to Teplitz with no amelioration, but 
rather an increase of his maladies, and was compelled to remain 

'Meaning Rudolph. 

2The credit of suggesting this crushing argument against the authenticity of the 
letter belongs to Dr. Deiters. — A.W.T. 

228 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

until near or perhaps quite the end of September. To his great 
satisfaction, he found there the young lady who had so power- 
fully attracted him the previous summer. The character of 
their renewed acquaintance is sufficiently obvious from the series 
of notes following, which are given in the order which appears to 
correspond best with their contents. 

Teplitz, September 16, 1812. 
For Amalie von Sebald: 

Tyrant — I? Your tyrant? Only a misapprehension can lead you 
to say this even if your judgment of me indicated no agreement of 
thought with me! But no blame to you on this account; it is rather a 
piece of good fortune for you — yesterday I was not wholly well, since this 
morning I have grown worse; something indigestible was the cause, and 
the irascible part of me appears to seize upon the bad as well as the good; 
but do not apply this to my moral nature; people say nothing, they are 
only people; they generally see only themselves in others, and that is 
nothing; away with this, the good, the beautiful needs no people. It is 
here without help and that, after all, appears to be the reason of our agree- 
ment. Farewell, dear Amalie; if the moon shines brighter for me this 
evening than the sun by day you will see with you the least of men. 

Your friend 


Dear, good Amalie. After leaving you yesterday my condition 
grew worse and from last night till now I have not left my bed, I wanted 
to send you word yesterday but thought it would look as if I wanted to 
appear important in your eyes, so I refrained. What dream of yours is 
this that you are nothing to me, we will talk about that by word of mouth, 
dear Amalie; I have always wished only that my presence might bring 
you rest and peace, and that you would have confidence in me; I hope to 
be better to-morrow and that we may spend the few hours which remain 
of your sojourn in the enjoyment of nature to our mutual uplift and en- 
livenment. Good night, dear Amalie, many thanks for your kind 
thought of your friend 

I will look through Tiedge. 

I only wish to report that the tyrant is slavishly chained to his bed. 
So it is! I shall be glad if I get along with the loss of to-day. My prom- 
enade yesterday at sun-up in the woods, where it was very misty, has in- 
creased my indisposition and probably delayed my improvement. Busy 
yourself meanwhile with Russians, Lapps, Samoyeds, etc., and do not 
sing too often the song, "Es lebe hochi" 

Your friend Beethoven. 

I am already better. If you think it proper to come to me alone 
you can give me a great pleasure, but if you think it improper you know 
how I honor the liberty of all people, and no matter how you act 
in this and all other cases, according to your principles or caprice, you will 
always find me kind and 

Your friend Beethoven. 

Beethoven and Amalie von Sebald 229 

I cannot yet say anything definite about myself, sometimes I feel 
better and next things appear to be in the old rut, or to be preparing a 
long sickness for me. If I could give expression to my tiiouglits con- 
cerning my sickness as definitely as I can express my thoughts in music, 
I should soon help myself. To-day too, I must keep to my bed. Farewell, 
and rejoice in your good health, dear Amalie. 

Your friend 


The sickness does not seem to increase exactly, but still to crawl 
onward, so no standstill! this is all that I can tell you about it. I must 
give up the thought of seeing you at home, mayhap your Samoyeds 
will relieve you of their journey to the Polar regions, if so come to 


Thank you for all the things which you think good for my body, the 
necessities have been cared for — also my illness seems less o})stinate. I 
deeply sympathize with you in the sorrow which must come to you be- 
cause of the sickness of your mother. You know that I like to see you, 
but I cannot receive you otherwise than lying in bed. I may be able to 
get up to-morrow. — Farewell, dear Amalie — 

Your somewhat weak 

(In Amalie Sebald's handwriting) : 

My tyrant commands an account — here it is: 
A fowl 1 fl. V. S. 

The soup 9 kr. 
With all my heart I hope that it may agree with you. 

(In Beethoven's handwriting) : 

Tyrants do not pay, but the bill must be receipted, and you can do 
that best if you come in person. N. B. With the bill to your humbled 
tyrant. 1 

Hard upon the first letter to Amalie Sebald there followed a 
letter to Breitkopf and Hartel which confirms the statement con- 
cerning his illness and its cause and discloses his desire to leave 
Vienna, though temporarily, for concert purposes. 

Beethoven's health must have rapidly improved after the 
16th of September, for Chapelmaster Gloggl's "Linzer Musik- 
Zeitung" announces his arrival in that place on October 5th: 

'An album once owned by Amalie Sebald contains this inscription: 
Ludwig van Beethoven 

Den Sie, wenn Sie auch wollten, 
Doch nicht vergessen soUten. 

Teplitz, August 8, 1812. 

The couplet might be rudely translated: 

Whom, even if you would 

Forget, you never should. 
"At that date," says Thayer, Beethoven "was not in Teplitz; the 1812 should doubtless 
be 1811, and was probably added long afterwards by some one who knew nothing of 
their meeting the previous year." 

230 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Now we have had the long wished for pleasure of having within our 
metropolis for several days the Orpheus and greatest musical poet of our 
time, Herr L. van Beethoven, and if Apollo is favorable to us we shall 
also have an opportunity to admire his art and report upon it to the 
readers of this journal. 

He had come thither, probably direct via Prague and Budweis, to 
pass a few weeks with his brother Johann, who gave him a large 
room affording him a delightful view of the Danube with its busy 
landing-place and the lovely country beyond. Franz Gloggl — 
later a music publisher in Vienna, then a youth in Linz — shortly 
before his death wrote down his reminiscences of the composer, 
for use in this work. 

Beethoven (he wrote) was on intimate terms of friendship with my 
father, chapelmaster of the cathedral in Linz, and when he was there in 
1812, he was at our house every day and several times took meals with us. 
My father asked him for an Aequale for 6 trombones, as in his collection 
of old instruments he had a soprano and a quart trombone, ^ whereas only 
alto, tenor and bass trombones were commonly used. Beethoven wanted 
to hear an Aequale such as was played at funerals in Linz, and my father 
appointed three trombone players one afternoon when Beethoven was 
expected to dine with us and had them play an Aequale as desired, after 
which Beethoven sat down and composed one for 6- trombones, which my 
father had his trombonists play, etc. 

Among the cavaliers who were in Linz was Count von Donhoff, a 
great admirer of Beethoven, who gave several soirees in his honor during 
the composer's sojourn. I was present at one of these. Pieces were 
played and some of Beethoven's songs were sung, and he was requested 
to improvise on the pianoforte, which he did not wish to do. A table had 
been spread with food in an adjoining room and finally the company 
gathered about it. I was a young lad and Beethoven interested me so 
greatly that I remained always near him. Search was made for him in 
vain and finally the company sat down without him. He was in the next 
room and now began to improvise; all grew quiet and listened to him. 
I remained standing beside him at the pianoforte. He played for about 
an hour and one by one all gathered around him. Then it occurred to 
him that he had been called to the table long before — he hurried from his 
chair to the dining-room. At the door stood a table holding porcelain 
dishes. He stumbled against it and the dishes fell to the floor. Count 
Donhoff, a wealthy cavalier, laughed at the mishap and the company 
again sat down to the table with Beethoven. There was no more thought 
of playing music, for after Beethoven's fantasia half of the pianoforte 
strings were broken. I recall this fantasia because I was so fortunate as 
to have heard it so near him. 

One of Beethoven's memoranda, copied into the Fischoff 
Manuscript, is this: "In 1812, I was in Linz on account of B." 

^A bass trombone in F, a fourth lower than the tenor trombone. 
^A slip of memory; the composition, which was used at Beethoven's funeral, is for 
4 trombones. 

Interference with a Brother's Affairs 231 

Supposing this B. to stand for Beethoven's brother it confirms 
certain very unpleasant information obtained in Linz (1860), 
from perfectly competent authority, namely, that the principal 
object of the journey thither was to interfere in Johann's domestic 

Soon after coming to Linz, the apothecary, being unmarried 
and having a house much too large for his necessities, leased a 
part of it to a physician from Vienna, whose wife's sister some time 
later joined them. She, Therese Obermeyer, was described as 
possessing a very graceful and finely porportioned figure, and a 
pleasing, though not beautiful, face. Johann van Beethoven 
soon became acquainted with her, liked her, and made her his 
housekeeper and — something more. 

When it is considered, that the apothecary was a man of some 
thirty-five years, that he had gained his present position entirely 
by his own enterprise, perseverance and good fortune, and that, 
beyond advice and remonstrance, his brother had no more right 
to meddle in his private concerns than any stranger, it seems hardly 
credible that Beethoven, with all his eccentricities of character, 
could have come to Linz with precisely this purpose in view. 
But, according to the evidence, this was so. Had the motive of 
his visit been simply fraternal affection, and had he then and there 
first discovered his brother's improper connection with Therese, 
he could justly have employed earnest expostulation and entreaty 
to the end of breaking it off — but nothing more; if unheeded, he 
could leave the house. But to come thither for this express 
object, and employ force to accomplish it, was an indefensible 
assumption of authority. Such, at all events, was Johann's 
opinion, and he refused to submit to his brother's dictation. 
Excited by opposition, Ludwig resorted to any and every means 
to accomplish his purpose. He saw the Bishop about it. He 
applied to the civil authorities. He pushed the affair so earnestly, 
as at last to obtain an order to the police to remove the girl to 
Vienna if, on a certain day, she should be still found in Linz. The 
disgrace to the poor girl; the strong liking which Johann had for 
her; his natural mortification at not being allowed to be master in 
his own house; these and other similiar causes wrought him up 
almost to desperation. Beethoven, having carried his point, 
might certainly have borne his brother's anger with equanimity; 
might have felt pity for him and sought to soothe him in his trouble. 
But no; when Johann entered his room with reproaches and up- 
braidings, he, too, became angry and a scene ensued on which — 
let the curtain be drawn. It was, unhappily, more disgraceful to 

232 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Ludwig than Johann. The apothecary, to use the language of the 
card-table, still had the commanding trump. Should he play it? 
The answer is in the parochial register at Linz. It is the record of 
marriage, November 8th, 1812, of Johann van Beethoven to 
Therese Obermeyer. There is some slight reason to think that the 
journey to Linz was suddenlj^ undertaken in consequence of a false 
report that Johann was about to marry Therese, and with the 
intention to prevent it. Whether this be true or not he lost the 
game and immediately hastened away to Vienna, angry and 
mortified that the measures he had taken had led to the verv 
result which he wished to prevent; had given to the unchaste girl 
the legal right to call him "brother," and had put it in Johann's 
power — should he in the future have cause to rue his wedding-day 
— to reproach him as the author of his misfortune. Indeed, when 
that unhappy future came, Johann always declared that Ludwig 
had driven him into this marriage; how the composer then viewed 
the matter, we shall see when the time comes. One sister-in-law 
had already been to Beethoven a bitter source of shame and 
mortification ; and now the other ? — Time must show. Here we 
part from the apothecary, and it will be long before we meet him 

Beethoven's professional occupation in Linz was the comple- 
tion of the Eighth Symphony, which, on Johann van Beethoven's 
doubtful authority, was wrought out from the sketches during 
walks to and upon the Postlingberg.^ Schindler's account of the 
origin of the famous Allegretto Scherzando adds a new name to 
our dramatis personoB. 

Johann Nepomuk Malzel was the son of an organ-builder of 
Ratisbon. He received a thorough musical education, and be- 
gan life on his own account as a performer upon and a teacher of 
the pianoforte of no mean ability; but his extraordinary taste for 
mechanism and talent for invention soon led him to exchange the 
music-room for the workshop. It is somewhere related, that, 
having been appointed "Court Mechanician" at Vienna and hav- 
ing a work to execute for the Empress, rooms were assigned him, 
in 1809, in Schonbrunn. Soon after this. Napoleon took possession 
of that palace, and while there played a game with Kempelen's 
chess player (of which Malzel had become proprietor), Allgaier 

'Beethoven had begun to work industriously on the Eighth Symphony before he 
went to Teplitz; indeed, he seems to have reported to Breitkopf and Hartel in a letter 
which has not been preserved, but which was sent from Franzensbrunn, that he had 
finished two symphonies; for the "Allg. Mus. Zcit."of September 2, 1812, says: "L. van 
Beethoven, who took the cures first at Tciplitz, then in Karlsbad and is now in Eger, has 
.... again composed two newsvmphonies." But the autograph bears the inscription: 
"Linz in October, 1812." 

Association with Malzel 233 

being (probably) the person concealed in the chest. The truth 
of the anecdote we cannot warrant. From Schonbriinn, Malzel 
removed to rooms in Stein's pianoforte manufactory, and began 
the construction of a new and improved panharmonicon, having 
sold his first one in Paris. This was his principal employment in 
the year 1812. Carl Stein (from whom the author derived this 
information) remembered distinctly the frequent visits of Beet- 
hoven to Malzel's workshop, the great intimacy of the two men, 
and the persevering efforts of the mechanician to construct an 
ear-trumpet which the deaf composer should find of practical 
use and benefit. It is well known, that of the four instruments 
constructed, one was so far satisfactory as to be used occasionally 
for some eight or ten years. The necessity and practicability of 
inventing some kind of machine by which composers should 
be able to indicate exactly the duration of a piece of music — in 
other words, the rapidity of its execution — had been for several 
years subjects of wide discussion. An article in the "Wiener 
Vaterlandische Blatter" of October 13, 1813, entitled "Malzel's 
musikalischer Chronometer," reads: 

On his journeys through Germany, France and Italy, as a conse- 
quence of his approved knowledge of mechanics and music, Herr Malzel 
had repeatedly been solicited by the most celebrated composers and con- 
servatories to devote his talent to an invention which should be useful to 
the many, after many efforts by others had proved defective. He 
undertook the solution of the problem and succeeded in completely satis- 
fying the first composers of Vienna with the model which was recently 
exhibited, which will be followed soon by the recognition of all others in 
the countries mentioned. The model has endured the most varied tests 
which the composers Salieri, Beethoven, Weigl, Gyrowetz and Hummel 
applied to it. Court Chapelmaster Salieri made the first application of 
this chronometer to a work of magnitude, Haydn's "Creation," and noted 
all the tempos according to the different degrees on the score, etc. Herr 
Beethoven looks upon this invention as a welcome means with which to 
secure the performance of his brilliant compositions in all places in the 
tempos conceived by him, which to his regret have so often been mis- 

The "Allg. Mus. Zeit." of December 1st devotes some two 
pages to the instrument, from which a few words of description 
are enough for our purpose: 

The external parts of this chronometer .... consist of a small 
lever which is set in motion by a toothed wheel, the only one in the whole 
apparatus, by means of which and the resultant blows on a little wooden 
anvil, the measures are divided into equal intervals of time. 

That "chronometer" was not what is now known as Malzel's 

234 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

It is now to be seen whether Schindler's account of the 
Allegretto Scherzando will bear examination. It is this: 

In the Spring of the year ISl'^, Beethoven, the mechanician Malzel, 
Count von Brunswick, Stephan von Breuning and others, sat together at 
a farewell meal, the first about to undertake the visit to his brother 
Johann in Linz, there to work out his Eighth Symphony and afterward 
to visit the Bohemian baths — Malzel, however, to journey to England to 
exploit his famous trumpet-player automaton. The latter project had 
to be abandoned, however, and indefinitely postponed. The time- 
machine — metronome — invented by this mechanician, was already in 
such a state of forwardness that Salieri, Beethoven, Weigl and other 
musical notabilities had given a public testimonial of its utility. Beetho- 
ven, generally merry, witty, satirical, "unbuttoned," as he called it, 
at this farewell meal improvised the following canon, which was at once 
sung by the participants. 

Schindler here prints the now well-known canon and adds: 
*'Out of this canon was developed the Allegretto Scherzando." 
That Malzel's "ta, ta, ta," suggested the Allegretto, and that at 
a farewell meal the canon on that subject was sung, is doubtless 
true; but it is by no means certain that the canon preceded the 
symphony. Schindler was then a youth of 17 years, "in the last 
course of the gymnasium at Olmiitz," and consequently relates his 
story on the authority of another — Count Brunswick. There 
may have been a slight lapse of memory on the part of Brunswick 
as to date, but it is far more probable that Schindler unconsciously 
adapted what he heard to his own preconceived notions. At all 
events, the preceding pages show that he was in the wrong as to 
the metronome, as to the proposed journeys of both Beethoven and 
Malzel, and therefore, probably, as to the date of the farewell 
meal. On this last point, the lists of "Arrivals in Vienna" offer 
very strong negative evidence, namely: Forray comes from 
Pesth-Ofen in 1809-1 Q-ll; Countess Brunswick, 1811; but no 
Count Brunswick after March, 1810, until the end of February, 
1813 — four months after the Eighth Symphony is completed. 
At that date, we shall find reasons in plenty for the farewell 
gathering — though none in the "Spring of 1812." The canon 
could not have contained the word "Metronome" until 1817; 
nor could the "ta, ta, ta," have represented the beat of a pendulum 
of an instrument not yet invented; it was an imitation of the beat 
of the lever on the anvil. 

The Conversation Books show, in Schindler's own hand, 
how he became possessed of the canon. Beethoven, during the 
first years of their acquaintance, was in the habit of meeting 
frequently evenings a captain of the Arcierenlcihgarde des 

Canon and Allegretto Scherzando 235 

Kaisers, a certain Herr Pinterics, well known then in musical 
circles, and Oliva, "in a retired room in the Blumenstock in the 
Ballgasschen." In a Conversation Book (1830) Schindler writes: 

The motif of the canon, 2d movement of the 8th symphony — I can- 
not find the original — you will, I hope, have the kindness to write it down 
for me. Herr Pintericks at that time sang the bass, the Captain 2d tenor, 
Oliva 2d bass. [Again in 1824]: I am just in the second movement of 
the 8th symphony— ta, ta, ta — the canon on Malzel — it was really a very 
jolly evening when we sang this canon in the "Kamehl" — Malzel, the 
bass. At that time I still sang soprano. I think it was the end of 1817.' 
The time when I was permitted to appear before Your Majesty — 
1816 — 1815 — after the performance of the Symphony in A. — I was still 
young at that time, but very courageous, wasn't I? 

On the first of these occasions, therefore, the word "Chro- 
nometer" must have been sung; on the second, as Malzel had re- 
turned to Vienna with the "Metronome," that word was substi- 
tuted, and of course retained in the copy made in 1820. The 
necessary conclusion is this: If the canon was written before the 
Symphony, it was not improvised at the farewell meal; if it was 
improvised on that occasion, it was but the reproduction of the 
Allegretto theme in canon-form. 

Pierre Rode, who at his culmination had occupied perhaps 
the first place among living violinists, being driven from Russia, 
made a concert tour in Germany and came in December to Vienna. 
Spohr, whose judgment of violin playing cannot be impugned, 
had heard him ten years before with delight and astonishment, 
and now again in a public concert on January 6. He now thought 
that he had retrograded; he found his playing "cold and full of 
mannerisms"; he "missed the former daring in the overcoming 
of difficulties," and felt himself "particularly unsatisfied by his 
cantabile playing." "The public, too, seemed dissatisfied," he 
says, "at least he could not warm it into enthusiasm." Still, 
Rode had a great name; paid to and received from the nobles the 
customary homage; and exhibited his still great talents in their 
saloons. Beethoven must have still thought well of his powers, for 
he now took up and completed his Sonata, Op. 96, to be played at 
one of Lobkowitz's evening concerts by him and Archduke 
Rudolph. From the tone of two notes to the Archduke (printed 
by Kochel), the composer seems to have been less satisfied by 
Rode's performances than he had expected to be: 

To-morrow morning at the earliest hour, the copyist will be able to 
begin on the last movement, as I meanwhile am writing on other works, 

'Correct. Malzel was then for a few months again in Vienna. 

236 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

I did not make great haste for the sake of mere punctuality in the last 
movement, the more because I had, in writing it, to consider the playing 
of Rode; in our finales we like rushing and resounding passages, but these 
are not in Rode's style and this — embarrassed me a little. For the rest 
all is likely to go well on Tuesday. I take the liberty of doubting if I 
can appear that evening at Your Imp. Highness's, notwithstanding my 
zeal in service; but to make it good I shall come to-morrow morning, 
to-morrow afternoon, to meet the wishes of my exalted pupil in all 

The date of the concert was December 29th. Therefore, if 
the sketches for the second, third and fourth movements of this 
noble sonata do not belong to the year 1811, as argued near the 
close of the preceding chapter, the entire work, except the first 
movement, was produced in twelve or fifteen days at most. 

Though it may be slightly in advance of strict chronological 
order, it would seem well to quote here what Spohr in his Auto- 
biography writes of his personal intercourse with Beethoven, 
It is interesting and doubly acceptable as the only sketch of the 
kind belonging to just this period; it is, moreover, trustworthy. In 
general, W'hat he relates of the composer in that work so abounds 
with unaccountable errors as to necessitate the utmost caution 
in accepting it; it is pervaded by a harsh and grating tone; and 
leaves the impression, that his memory retained most vividly and 
unconsciously exaggerated whatever tended to place Beethoven in 
a ridiculous light. What is here copied is, at least comparatively, 
free from these objections: 

After my arrival in Vienna (about December 1), I at once hunted up 
Beethoven, but did not find him and therefore left my card. I now 
hoped to meet him in one of the musical soirees to which I was frequently 
invited, but soon learned that since his deafness had so increased that he 
could no longer hear music distinctly in all its context he had with- 
drawn from all musical parties and, indeed, become very shy of society. 
I made another attempt to visit him, but again in vain. At last, most 
unexpectedly, I met him in the eating-place which I was in the habit of 
patronizing every Wednesday with my wife. I had, by this time, al- 
ready given a concert (December 17), and twice performed my oratorio 
(January 21 and 24). The Vienna newspapers had reported favorably upon 
them. Hence, Beethoven knew of me when I introduced myself to him 
and greeted me in an extremely friendly manner. We sat down together 
at a table, and Beethoven became very chatty, which greatly surprised 
the table company, as he generally looked straight ahead, morose and 
curt of speech. It was a difficult task to make him understand, as 
one had to shout so loudly that it could be heard three rooms distant. 
Afterward, Beethoven came often to this eating-house and visited me at 
my lodgings, and thus we soon learned to know each other well. Beet- 
hoven was frequently somewhat blunt, not to say rude; but an honest 
eye gleamed from under his bushy eyebrows. 

Spohr's Account of Beethoven 237 

After my return from Gotha (end of May, 1813), I met him occasion- 
ally at the Theater-an-der-Wien, hard behind the orchestra, where Count 
Palffy had given him a free seat. After the opera he generally accom- 
panied me home and spent the remainder of the evening with me. There 
he was pleasant toward Dorette and the children. He very seldom 
spoke about music. When he did so his judgments were very severe and 
so decided that it seemed as if there could be no contradiction. He 
did not take the least interest in the works of others; for this reason I 
did not have the courage to show him mine. His favorite topic of con- 
versation at the time was severe criticism of the two theatrical manage- 
ments of Prince Lobkowitz and Count Palffy. He was sometimes over- 
loud in his abuse of the latter w'hen we were still inside the theatre, so 
that not only the public but also the Count in his office might have heard 
him. This embarrassed me greatly and I continually tried to turn the 
conversation into something else. The rude, repelling conduct of Beet- 
hoven at this time was due partly to his deafness, which he not yet learned 
to endure with resignation, partly to the unsettled condition of his 
financial affairs. He was not a good housekeeper and had the ill-luck 
to be robbed by those about him. So he often lacked necessities. In 
the early part of our acquaintance I once asked him, after he had been 
absent from the eating-house: "You were not ill, were you?" — "My 
boots were, and as I have only one pair I had house-arrest," was the 

Beethoven had other cares, troubles and anxieties in the com- 
ing year — to which these reminiscences in strictness belong and 
serve as a sort of introduction — not known to Spohr. Theirs w^as 
not the confidential intercourse which lays bare the heart of friend 
to friend. As Varnhagen last year, so Theodor Korner this and 
the next informs us that Beethoven's desire again to try his for- 
tune on the operatic stage was in no wise abated. On June 6th 
the youthful poet writes: "If Weinlig does not intend soon to 
compose my Alfred, let him send it back to me; I would then, 
having bettered my knowledge of the theatre and especially of 
opera texts, strike out several things, inasmuch as it is much too 
long, and give it to the Karnthner Theatre, as I am everlastingly 
plagued for opera texts by Beethoven, Weigl, Gyrowetz, etc." 
On February 10, 1813, he writes: "Beethoven has asked me for 
'The Return of Ulysses.' If Gluck were alive, that would be a 
subject for his Muse." 

The ascertained compositions of 1812 were: 

I. "Sinfonie. L. v. Beethoven, 1812, 13ten Mai." A major. Op. 92. 

II. "Trio in einem Satze." B-flat. "Wien am 2ten Juni 1812. Fur 
seine kleine Freundin Max. Brentano zu ihrer Aufmunterung im Clavier- 

III. "Sinfonia— Linz im Monath October 1812." F major. Op. 93. 

IV. Three Equali for four trombones. "Linz den 2ten 9ber 1812." 

V. Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin. G major. Op. 96. 

238 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

VI. Irish airs nearly or quite completed for Thomson, and 

VII. Welsh airs probably continued. 

The publications: 

I. Music to "Egmont" except the overture. Op. 84. Breitkopf and 
Hartel, in January. 

II. Messa a quattro voci colV accompagnamento delV Orchestra, com- 
posta da Luigi van Beethoven. "Drey Hymnen fUr vier Singstimmen mit 
Begleitung des Orchesters, in Musik gesetzt und Sr. Durchlaucht dem 
Herrn Fursten von Kinsky zugeeignet von Ludw. v. Beethoven, 86. 
Werk. Partitur." Breitkopf and Hartel, in October. 

Chapter XIII 

The Year 1813 — Beethoven's Journal — Death of Prince 
Kinsky— Beethoven's Earnings— Malzel and "WelHng- 
ton's Victory" — The A major Symphony — The Concerts 
of December 8 and 12. 

SHORT as Bettina's stay in Vienna was, it occurred at the very 
crisis of Beethoven's unlucky marriage project; and her 
society served a good purpose in distracting his thoughts; 
while her known relations to her future husband prevented the 
growth of any such feeling on his part as some have conjectured 
did really awaken. Next came the rather absurd affair with 
Fraulein Malfatti; but this was so little of an earnest nature ^ as 
in turn to be quite forgotten, so soon as the rejected lover came 
fairly under the influence of the remarkable mental and personal 
charms of Amalie von Sebald, in whom he found all that his 

^Thayer is writing from the point of view touching Beethoven's love-affairs which 
was justified by all the evidence that had been discovered up to the time of his writing 
and, in fact, up to the time of his death. He thought that the object of the love-letters, 
which he insisted in placing in 1806, was "in greatest probability" Countess Brunswick; 
he knew that Beethoven had proposed marriage to Therese Malfatti, but plainly thought 
the passion for her neither profound nor lasting; he was inclined to believe that the 
broken marriage engagement of 1810, was with the Countess Brunswick and that she 
dropped out of his life with the failure of his marriage project. The discovery of 
the letter of February, 1811, from Therese to her sister in which his letter to her about 
the portrait is quoted, shows Thayer to have been in error in this. In his revision of the 
chapter before us. Dr. Riemann proceeded from an entirely different point of view. In 
his belief the love-letters were written in 1812, and to Therese Brunswick. In place of 
the opening passages which the English Editor has thought proper to retain, he sub- 
stituted the following: 

"The convincing reasons advanced in the preceding chapter for placing the love- 
letter of July 6-7 in the year 1812, give an entirely different light to the so-called 
'Journal' in the Fischoff manuscript. If that day, in the beginning of July, 1812, which 
led to a mutual confession of love forms a climax in Beethoven's heart-history, which can 
scarcely be doubted, the entry in the journal makes it sure that the obstacles to a con- 
jugal union which are intimated have not disappeared, but, on the contrary, have proved 
to be insuperable. The first entry is dated merely 1812, and in likelihood was written 
at the end of the year. Whether or not the initial which shows a flourish is really an 
A is a fair question. Those who see more than superficial playfulness in the relations 
between Beethoven and Amalie Sebald will of course see her name in the letter." It 
should be observed here that in the chapter devoted to the year 1812, Dr. Riemann 
interpolated an extended argument, following the lines of Dr. San-Galli's brochure, to 
show that the letters were written in 1812 from Teplitz — Dr. San-Galli says to Amalie 
Sebald, Dr. Riemann to Countess Brunswick. 

[ 239 ] 

240 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

warmest wishes could desire. The renewal in the last summer of 
his acquaintance with her completely cured him of his recent 
unfortunate passions, but, there is too much reason to believe, at 
the cost of plunging him into a new one, not the less powerful 
because utterly hopeless, and so firmly rooted that in 1816 "it 
was still as on the first day." 

The so-called journal {Tagehuch) of the Fischoff MS. begins: 

Submission, absolute submission to your fate, only this can give you 
the sacrifice ... to the servitude — O, hard struggle! Turn everything 
which remains to be done to planning the long journey — you must your- 
self find all that your most blessed wish can offer, you must force it to 
your will — keep always of the same mind. 

Thou mayest no longer he a man, not for thyself, only for others, for 
thee there is no longer happiness except in thyself, in thy art — O God, give 
me strength to conquer myself, nothing must chain me to life. Thus 
everything connected with A will go to destruction. 

The date given is simply 1812; but the month of September in 
Teplitz suggests itself instantly for the first two paragraphs, and 
the time when Beethoven was busy with the Eighth Symphony 
for the other. The next-following in the manuscript is dated: 

May 13, 1813. 
To forgo a great act which might have been and remain so — O, 
what a difference compared with an unstudied life which often rose in my 
fancy — O fearful conditions which do not suppress my feeling for 
domesticity, but whose execution O God, God look down upon the un- 
happy B., do not permit it to last thus much longer — 

Learn to keep silent, O friend! Speech is like silver. 
But to hold one's peace at the right moment is pure gold. 

It is obvious that the hated "servitude" is the instruction of 
the Archduke in music, and that the new feeling which he has to 
defy, and if possible conquer, lest everything go to destruction, is 
the absorbing affection for Amalie Sebald which he had uncon- 
sciously suffered to gain tyrannical sway over his mind and heart. 
The "great act" of the last citation is the "long journey" of the 
first — of which hereafter. ^ 

Other causes also joined to render his case now truly pitiable. 
The result of his interference with his brother Johann, vexatious 

'Here is Dr. Riemann's interpretation: "That the reference is to the obstacles 
standing in the way of a marriage, can scarcely be controverted. Compare with this 
what Fanny Giannatasio del Rio says on September 16, 1816, in her journal: Five years 
before he had got acquainted with a person, union with whom would have been to him 
the greatest happiness of his life. 'It is still as on the first day, I have not been able to 
get it out of my mind.' The words 'got accjuainted five years ago' apply rather to Amalie 
Sebald or Bettina von Arnim than to Therese Brunswick; but it should be borne in 
mind that the young woman is reporting a conversation overheard from some distance 
between Beethoven and her father." 

Misfortunes of Karl van Beethoven 241 

and mortifying as it was, was of little moment in comparison with 
the anxiety and distress caused by the condition of his brother 
Karl. In 1809, Karl had been advanced to the position of Deputy 
Liquidator with 1000 fl. salary and 160 fl. rent money; but all 
salaries being then paid in bank-notes, the minor public officials, 
especially after the Fiuanz-Patent, were reduced to extreme 
poverty. Karl van Beethoven was already owner of the house in 
the Alservorstadt near the Herrnalser Linie, which contained 
lodgings for some ten or tw^elve small families, enclosed a court- 
garden with fruit trees, etc., and was valued (1816) at 16400 fl.: 
so long as he remained in the Rauhen^teingasse, the whole of this 
house w^as rented, and, after deducting interest and taxes, gave 
him a very desirable addition to his miserable salary. When 
Beethoven writes, that he had wholly to support "an unfortunate 
sick brother together with his family," it must be therefore un- 
derstood cum grano; but that he had for some time been obliged 
very largely to aid them in obtaining even the necessaries of life 
is beyond question. Just now, when his own pecuniary pros- 
pects were so clouded, his anxieties were increased by Karl's 
wretched state of health, which partly disabled him for his official 
duties, and seems to have forced him to pay for occasional as- 
sistance. In March, he appeared rapidly to be sinking from con- 
sumption, and he became so hopeless of improvement in April 
as to induce him — in his wellfounded distrust of the virtue and 
prudence of his unhappy wife — to execute the following 


Inasmuch as I am convinced of the frank and upright disposition of 
my brother Ludwig van Beethoven, I desire that after my death he 
undertake the guardianship of my son, Karl Beethoven, a minor. I 
therefore request the honorable court to appoint my brother mentioned 
to the guardianship after my death and beg my dear brother to accept 
the office and to aid my son with word and deed in all cases. » 

Vienna, April 12, 1813. 

Happily for all parties concerned, Spring "brought healing 
on its wings." Karl's health improved; he was advanced to the 
position of Cashier of the "Universal-Staats-Schulden Kasse," 
with 40 fl. increase of rent money; and now, at last, the decree 
was issued for the payment of all salaries (of public officials) in 
silver. Twelve hundred florins in silver, used with reasonable 
economy, was amply suflBcient to relieve Ludwig of this part 
of his troubles. 

iThis document is signed and sealed by Karl v. Beethoven. R. I. Cashier, Ludwig 
van Beethoven, and Baron Johann von Pasqualati, Peter von Leben and Fr. Ohva as 

242 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

In a letter to Rudolph written in January, Beethoven said 
bitterly: "neither word, nor honor, nor written agreement, seems 
binding." — The words relate to non-payments of the Kinsky and 
Lobkowitz subscriptions to his annuity. 

Kinsky, on the 2nd or 3rd of the preceding November, while 
riding at Weldus near Prague, was — by the breaking of his saddle- 
girth — thrown from his horse with such force as to crush his skull, 
and survived but ten hours. In settling his affairs, the question 
arose whether, under the Finanz-Patent, Beethoven was entitled to 
more than the subscription as computed by the scale: or, more 
correctly, there being no question under the law, Beethoven 
raised one, by claiming the full nominal sum (1800 fl.) in notes of 
redemption. The curators of the estates — as it was their sworn 
duty to do — refused to admit the claim until it should be es- 
tablished by competent judicial authority; and, pending the 
decision, withheld all payments. As to Lobkowitz, his profuse 
expenditures had brought him to a suspension of payments and 
had deprived him of the control of his vast estates. What has 
just been said of the Kinsky subscription for Beethoven applies, 
therefore, literally to his. Hence, nothing of the annuity was paid 
by the Kinsky curators from November 3rd, 1812, to March 31st, 
1815; nor by those of Lobkowitz from September 1st, 1811, until 
after April 19th, 1815. From the abundant correspondence called 
out by these differences of opinion, as to whether law or equity 
should rule in the case, three letters to the widowed Princess 
Kinsky may be selected as explanatory of Beethoven's views. 
In the first of these letters, dated at Vienna, December 30th, 1812, 
Beethoven rehearses the story of the origin of the annuity contract, 
the disarrangement of the governmental finances. Archduke 
Rudolph's prompt compliance with the request that payments be 
made in notes of redemption instead of bank-notes, and thus 
reaches the visit of Varnhagen von Ense to Prince Kinsky at 
Prague. He quotes a letter written by Varnhagen as follows: 

Yesterday I had an exhaustive talk with Prince v. Kinsky. Ac- 
companied by expressions of highest praise for Beethoven, he complied 
at once with his request and from now on will send him notes of redemp- 
tion and will pay the arrears and the future sums in this currency. The 
cashier here will receive the necessary instructions and Beethoven can 
collect everything here when he passes through, or if he prefers in Vienna 
as soon as the Prince shall have returned. 

Prague, July 9, 1812. » 

'This date is obviously an error of the copyists. The letter was written to Oliva 
who, on January 27, 1813, recalling it to Varnhagen's mind, copies it as "your letter of 
June 9, of last year." Moreover, Beethoven was in Prague several days before July 9, 

Appeals to Prince Kixsky's Heirs 243 

Continuing, Beethoven tells the Princess of his visit to Kinsky, 
who confirmed the statements in the letter and paid CO ducats on 
account— as the equivalent of 600 florins, Vienna Standard. 
It was agreed that the arrears should be paid when the Prince 
should come to Vienna and instructions he given to his agents. 
Beethoven's illness kept him at Teplitz longer than he had expected. 
Nevertheless, through Oliva he reminded the Prince, then in 
Vienna, in December of his promises, who again confirmed them 
and added that he would arrange matters at his exchequer in a few 
days. ^ After the departure of the Prince with his family he had 
made inquiries and learned to his astonishment that nothing had 
been done in the matter. In conclusion he expressed the convic- 
tion that the heirs of the noble Prince would act in the spirit of 
magnanimity which had inspired him and pay the arrears and 
give directions for the future payments in notes of redemption. 

In the second letter he repeats the request, having learned 
first from the Prince's representatives that nothing could be done 
in the matter until a guardian had been appointed, which office 
had been assumed by Her Highness. "You will easily see," he 

how painful it is to be deprived so long of money which had been 
counted on, the more since I am obliged wholly to support an unfortunate 
sick brother and his family and have inconsiderately exhausted my re- 
sources, hoping by the collection of my salary to care for my own liveli- 
hood. The complete righteousness of my claims you may see in the fact 
that I faithfully reported the receipt of the 60 ducats which the Prince 
of blessed memory paid me on account in Prague, although the princely 
council told me that I might have concealed the fact, as the Prince had 
not told him, the councillor, or his cashier anything about it. 

The third letter, dated February 12, 1813, again urges the 
duty of the heirs to carry out the intentions of the Prince and 
formulates his petition as follows: 

Namely, I pray Your Serene Highness graciously to command that 
the salary in arrears from September 1, 1811, be computed in Vienna 
currency according to the scale of the day of contract, at 1088.42 florins, 
and paid, and to leave the question whether and to what extent this 
salary be payable to me in Vienna currency open until the affairs of the 
estate be brought in order and it becomes necessary to lay the subject 
before the authorities so that my just demands be realized by their ap- 
proval and determination. 

The payment of the CO ducats on account of the salary which 
by the Prince's consent was to be paid in notes of redemption is 
again advanced as evidence of the Prince's intentions, as is also 
the plea on the score of his necessities. The first and third letters 

244 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

are written in a strange hand and merely signed by Beethoven. 
The petition contained in the third was not granted. 

Schindler has enlarged upon Beethoven's inexperience and lack 
of skill in matters of business, and of his propensity to waste his 
resources in needless changes of lodgings; Wegeler and others in- 
form us of his ignorance of the value of money; Karl van Beethoven 
had been a great expense to him; and five-eighths of his annuity 
had for some time remained unpaid. Still, it is impossible to ac- 
count satisfactorily for the very low state of his finances at this 
time. He must have been strangely imprudent in non-husband- 
ing his resources. From March 1, 1809, to March 1, 1813, he had 
received from Kinsky rather more than five semi-annual payments 
(the "60 ducats" included), from Lobkowitz five and from the 
Archduke seven — five of them in notes of redemption; in all, 
11500 florins. In the Spring of 1810, Collard (Clementi) had 
paid him £200; from Thomson he had received 150 ducats, if not 
in July, 1810, at least in July, 1811, and 90 ducats more in February, 
1813, and within the last years Breitkopf and Hartel had certainly 
paid him several thousand florins for the many works of magnitude 
purchased by them; besides all this he had borrowed at least 1100 
florins from Brentano, for two or three years only after this he 
notes: *T owe F. A. B. 2300 fl., once 1100 and 60 ducats"; and we 
know of no time after the beginning of 1814, when he was under 
the necessity of applying to that generous friend for any sums 
like these. But, whatever was the cause, and whoever was in 
fault, Beethoven was now, up to the time when his brother Karl 
received his new appointment, learning by harsh experience a 
lesson in economy — happily to his profit. 

To finish this topic at once, we pass on to the summer, which 
the composer spent in Baden, meeting there his friends the 
Streichers. Frau Streicher afterwards related to Schindler, that 
she "found Beethoven in the summer of 1813, in the most desolate 
state as regards his physical and domestic needs — not only did 
he not have a single good coat, but not a whole shirt," and, adds 
Schindler, "I must hesitate to describe his condition exactly as it 
was." Frau Streicher, after her return to the city, "put his ward- 
robe and household affairs to rights and, with the help of her 
husband, saw to the provision of the necessities," and, what was 
still better, they impressed upon him the necessity of "putting 
money by against the future, and Beethoven obeyed in every 
particular." A small sura received from Gratz, and the 750 fl. 
due from the Archduke, September 1st, relieved him for the 
moment; but before the end of the year, he was again so 

A Period of Adversity 245 

reduced, probably by the necessary expenditures made on his 
account by the Streichers, as to obtain a loan of 50 ducats from 

The tone of the correspondence during the first half of this 
year is far less depressed than might be expected under the ad- 
verse circumstances just detailed, to which is to be added constant 
ill health; indeed, his notes to Zmeskall are enlivened by divers 
gleams of his old humor. For the better understanding of the 
selections here made it is to be premised, that 

(a) Brunswick arrived in Vienna, February 21; that 

(b) Beethoven contributed a "newly composed Triumphal 
March" to Kuffner's tragedy "Tarpeia" for its first performance 
in the Burgtheater, March 26; that 

(c) One of his symphonies was the principal attraction of the 
Theatrical Poor Fund Concert in the Karnthnerthortheater, 
April 16; that 

(d) He could justly claim the use of that theatre from Prince 
Lobkowitz for a benefit concert; that 

(e) Varena had again applied to him for music for another 
charity concert in Gratz; that 

(f) Louis Bonaparte, Ex-King of Holland, then residing in 
Gratz, was the "rich third party" referred to in one of the letters; 

(g) That the pecuniary embarrassments of Lobkowitz reached 
their climax this summerand recalled Beethoven from Baden to take 
the needful steps to secure himself from farther loss, if possible. 

On January 24th, he writes to Zmeskall: 

We inform you, best Z., of this and the other thing from which you 
may choose the best, and are most horribly well-disposed toward you. 
We hear that you have letters from B. addressed to us and beg you to 
send them. Are you at liberty to-day? If so, you will find me in the Swan 
— if not, we will find each other somewhere else. 

Your friend 


Beethoven Bonnensis. 

Between this letter and the next there falls a rather long 
letter in French to Thomson, dated February 19, 1813, which 
informs us touching the progress of the work on the British songs. 
Beethoven writes: 

I have received your valued letters of August 5, October 30 and 
December 21, and learned with pleasure that you have received the 62 
songs which I have set for you at last and that you are satisfied with all 
but 9 of them which you specify and in which you would like to have me 

246 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

change the ritornelles and accompaniments. I regret that I cannot 
accommodate you in this. I am not in the habit of rewriting my compo- 
sitions. I have never done it, being convinced that any partial alteration 
changes the character of the entire composition. I regret that you will 
suffer the loss; but you can scarcely put the blame on me, since it ought to 
have been your affair to advise me more explicitly of the taste of your 
country and the small skill of your players. Having now received your 
instruction on these points I have composed the songs wholly anew and, 
as I hope, so that they will meet your expectations. 

You may believe that it was only with great reluctance that I 
determined to do violence to my ideas and that I should never have been 
willing to do so had I not feared that a refusal would cause a loss to you, 
as in your collection you wanted to have my compositions exclusively 
and that otherwise you might have had your care and expense to pro- 
duce a complete work in vain. . . . The last two songs in your letter 
of December 21, pleased me very much. For this reason I composed them 

con amore, particularly the second one. You noted it in -f^ ^V =. 

but as this key seems too little natural and so little in harmony with the 
direction Amoroso that it might better be written Barbaresco, I have set 
it in a more appropriate key. 

Further on in the letter he asks Thomson to tell him whether 
Andantino was to be understood as meaning faster or slower 
than Andante, "for this term, like so many in music, is of so in- 
definite a significance that Andantino sometimes approaches an 
Allegro and sometimes, on the other hand, is played like Adagio.'^ 

A rather long note to Zmeskall of February 25, being about 
a servant, is not worth copying. It begins: 'T have, my dear Z., 
been almost continuously ill since I saw you last," and closes 
after the signature with the word ^'Miserabilis." Omitting others 
of similar contents we come to this interesting letter to Varena: 

Dear Sir! 

Xo doubt Rode was right in all that he said about me ; my health is 
not of the best and without fault of my own my condition otherwise is 
perhaps more unfavorable than at any time in my life; but neither this 
nor anything else shall dissuade me from helping the equally innocent 
sufferers, the Convent ladies, so far as my modest talents will permit. 
To this end, two entirely new symphonies are at your services, an air 
for bass voice Avith chorus, several smaller single choruses — if you need 
the overture to Hungary's Benefactor which you performed last year, it 
is at your service. 

The overture to "The Ruins of Athens," although in a smaller style, 
is also at your service. Amongst the choruses is a chorus of Dervishes, 
an attractive thing [literally: "a good signboard"] for a mixed public. 

In my opinion you would do best to choose a day on which you 
could give the oratorio "Christus am Olberg"; since then it has been 
played all over; this would then fill half of the concert; for the second 

Help for the Ursulines at Gratz 247 

half you would play a new symphony, the overture and different choruses, 
as also the bass air with chorus mentioned; thus the evening would not 
be without variety; but you would better talk this over with the musical 
councillors in your city and let them decide. What you say concerning 
remuneration for me from a third person I think I can guess who he is; 
if I were in my former condition I would flatly say: "Beethoven never 
takes pay when the benefitting of humanity is concerned," but now, 
placed in a condition through my great benevolence (the cause of which 
can bring me no shame) and other circumstances which are to blame, which 
are caused by men without honesty or honor, I say frankly I would not 
decline such an offer from a rich third party; but there is no thought of a 
demand; even if there should prove to be nothing in the talk about a 
third person, be convinced that I am just as willing now to be of service 
to my friends, the reverend women, as I was last year without the least 
reward, and as I shall always be to suffering humanity as long as I breathe. 
And now farewell. Write to me soon and I will care for all that is 
necessary with the greatest zeal. 

My best wishes for the convent. 

Closely connected with this in subject, and no doubt in time, 
is the following letter to Znieskall: 

See to the delivery of this letter to Brunswick at once to-day, so that 
it may arrive as soon as possible and correctly. Pardon me the burdens 
which I place upon you. I have just been asked again to send works to 
Gratz in the Steirmark for a, concert to be given for the benefit of the 
Ursulines and their educational convent. Last year such a concert 
yielded generous receipts. With this academy and that which I gave in 
Karlsbad for the benefit of the sufferers from the fire in Baden three 
academies have been given in one year for, by and through me — to me 
everywhere a deaf ear is turned [literally: "for me everybody wears his 
ears on his feet"]. 

Thereupon he wrote again to Varena: 

Vienna, April 8, 1813. 
My dear V ! 

I received with much pleasure your letter but again with much dis- 
pleasure the 100 florins sent by the poor cloister ladies; meanwhile they 
are deposited with me to be applied to the payment of the expenses for 
copying. Whatever remains will be returned to the noble cloister women 
together with a view of the accounts. 

For such occasions I never accept anything — I thought that the 
third person to whom you referred was perhaps the ex-King of Holland 
and — yes, from him who probably took from the Hollanders in a less 
righteous way I would have had no hesitation in accepting something in 
my present condition; now, however, I beg kindly that nothing more be 
said on the subject. Write me your opinion as to whether if I came to 
Gratz I could give a concert; for it is not likely that Vienna will long re- 
main my place of residence; perhaps it is already too late, but your opinion 
on the subject will always be welcome. 

The works will be copied and as soon as possible you shall have 
them — do whatever you please with the oratorio; wherever it can do 
any good my purposes will best be subserved. 

248 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

All things beautiful to our Ursulines, whom I am glad to be able to 
serve again. 

Numbers 8 and 9 of Kochel's "Drei-und-achtzig Original- 
Briefe" by Beethoven to Archduke Rudolph and his chamberlain, 
pray the Archduke to intercede for him with the Rector of the 
University for permission to give two concerts in the hall of the 
University. The result is shown in a note to Zmeskall dated 
April 19: 

The hall of the University, my dear Z., is — refused, I received this 
information day before yesterday, but being ill yesterday I could not 
come to you to talk it over, nor to-day. There will remain nothing prob- 
ably except the Karnthnerthortheater or that An-der-Wien, and I fancy 
only one A (cademy). If that will not go we must resort to the Augarten, 
there of course we must give 2 A. Think the matter over a bit, my dear, 
and give me your opinion. It may be that the symphonies will be re- 
hearsed to-morrow at the Archduke's, if I can go out, of which I shall let 
you know. 

The rehearsal took place on Resurrection Day, April 18, as 
we learn from the 48th letter in the Kochel Collection, which, 
together with the preceding two (Nos. 46 and 47), belong in the 
year 1813, not in 1819, as Kochel surmised. The following little 
note to Zmeskall refers to the rehearsal: 

Meanwhile I thank you, dear Z., and inform you that the rehearsal 
will take place at the Archduke's to-morrow afternoon at 3 o'clock — but 
I shall give you the particulars to-morrow morning — for the present I 
have announced it. 


To Zmeskall he wrote on April 23: 

Dear Z. : All will go well, the Archduke will take this Prince Fitzly 
Putzly soundly by the ears — let me know if you intend to eat at the inn 
to-day or when you do? Then tell me please whether "Sentivant" is 
correctly spelled, as I want to write to him at the same time for the chorus. 
I must yet consult with you about the day to be chosen, moreover you 
must not let anything be observed about the enlistment of the Archduke, 
for Prince Fitzly Putzly will not come to the Archduke till Sunday, if this 
wicked debtor were to observe anything in advance he would try to get 
out of it. 

(On April 26) : Lobkowitz will give me the theatre for a day after 
May 15, it seems to me this is about as good as none at all — and I am 
almost of a mind to give up all thoughts of a concert. He above will surely 
not let me go utterly to ruin. 

(On May 10): I beg of you, dear Z., not to let anything be heard 
about what I said to you concerning Prince L., as the matter is really 
going forward and without this step nothing would ever have been certain. 
I have looked for you at the S. every day, but in vain. 

Pictures with Musical Accompaniment 249 

There follows another long letter to Varena: 

My dear V! 

There can be no harm in notifying you in advance of what I am 
sending you; you may be able to use more or less of it. You will receive 
3 choruses which are not long and which you can use at different inter- 
vals in the concert — a large scene for bass voice with chorus; it is from the 
"Ruins of Athens" and occurs where the picture of our Emperor appears 
in view (in Ofen, Hungary, this came upon the stage from below). You 
may be able to use something of the kind to — stimulate the multitude. 

In case of need the bass voice might be changed to a contralto. 
You will receive only the score of these pieces; had I known which you 
would use I could have had them copied for you here; I shall receive the 
scores and H. von Rettig will kindly look after them for you; besides, you 
will receive a march already copied for the instruments. Instead of a 
symphony you will receive two symphonies; first, the one which you 
desired to have written out and duplicate; 2nd, another one, also copied, 
which it appears to me you have not yet had performed in Gratz. As 
everything else is copied you can have the vocal pieces copied easily 
and in time. 

Hr. von Rettich will no doubt find some extraordinary occasion to 
have everything delivered to you quickly, as everybody is willing to help 
in such benevolent causes. Why can I not do more for the good ladies! 

I should have liked to send you two entirely new symphonies of 
mine, but my present condition commands me unfortunately to think of 
myself, and I do not know but that I may be obliged to leave this place as 
a fugitive from the country, for this thank the excellent princes who have 
made it impossible for me to work for the good and the useful as is my 
wont. Many thanks for your wine and thank also the worthy ladies for 
the sweetmeats which they sent me. 

(To the same, without date) : 

P.P. I inform you in haste that in case the first two of the four horn 
parts are difiicult for your players, you replace them with 2 violas, but 
solo players; the other 2 in C are easy and can be played by 2 hornists. 

For the sake of my health I am hurrying to Baden for a measure of 
improvement. The cost of copying the scores was 8 fl. 24 kr., for which 
I shall get a receipt. I have charged 3 fl. for my servant to get the things 
together, making a total of 11 fl. 24 kr. ; after deducting this sum I shall 
return the rest of the 100 fl, in a few days — it is impossible at this 

In case you write to me please enclose your letter to the following 
address in V., namely: To Hrn. Oliva, to be delivered to the Brothers 
Offenheimer in the Bauernmarkt. 

In a letter to the Archduke, who was then in Baden (also 
written on May 27), Beethoven reports his arrival there. From 
Baden the correspondence with Varena was continued, as appears 
from a letter of July 4, 1813, in which Beethoven says: 

Pardon this very belated answer, the reason is still the old one, my 
troubles, contending for my rights, and all this goes very slowly, since I 

250 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

am dealing with a princely rascal, Prince Lobkowitz; another noble prince, 
one of an opposite character, died, but he as little as I was thinking of his 
death and in my affairs he left nothing in writing; this must now be fought 
out in the law courts at Prague. What an occupation for an artist to whom 
nothing is so dear as his art! and I was brought into all this by 11. I. H. 
Archduke Rudolph. . . . 

Receive my thanks for the 150 fl. from the Forest Preservation 
Society,! commend me to the esteemed Society, but I am humiliated 
by the fact; why do you (or they) place so high an estimate on the 
little favor which I have shown the reverend ladies.'' I hope that my 
troubles will soon come to an end and that I may come into posses- 
sion of my own; as soon as this happens I shall come in the fall to Gratz 
and then the 150 fl. shall be dealt with, and I shall then give a large 
concert for the benefit of the good Ursulines, or some other institution 
which may be recommended to me as the most needy and most useful. . . . 

We learn from the "Aufmerksame" of Gratz, that "Christus 
am Olberg," sent there by Beethoven in the preceding year, was 
sung as the second part of a concert for the poor on Palm Sun- 
day, April 11, with applause which did honor to the good taste 
of the musical public of the Styrian capital. 

In Vienna the C minor symphony opened and the new march 
from "Tarpeia" closed Schuppanzigh's concert on the 1st of May 
in the Augarten; but no such enthusiasm was awakened as to 
induce Beethoven to risk the trouble and expense of producing his 
new symphonies, and the projected "Academies" were abandoned. 

Recalled to Vienna early in July, Beethoven wrote thence to 
Archduke Rudolph: 

From day to day I thought that I should be able to return to Baden, 
meanwhile the dissonances which are keeping me here may possibly de- 
tain me till next week. It is a torture for me to stay in the city in the 
summertime and when I reflect that I am also hindered from attending 
upon Y. I. H. it tortures and repels me the more. Meanwhile it is the 
Lobkowitz and Kinsky matter which keeps me here; instead of thinking 
about a number of measures I must ponder a number of walks (Gdnge — 
passages) which I must make; without this I should scarcely live to see 
the end of the matter. Your I. H. has doubtless heard of Lobkowitz's 
misfortunes. It is pitiable, but to be so rich is not fortunate! It is 
said that Count Fries alone paid 1900 ducats in gold to Duport^ and 
took a mortgage on the old Lobkowitz house. The details are incredible. 
I hear that Rasoumowsky will come to Baden and bring his Quartet, 
which would be a very handsome thing, as Y. I. H. would certainly be 
nicely entertained. I know of no more delightful enjoyment in the 
country than quartet music. Graciously accept, Y. I. H., my sincerest 
wishes for your good health and pity me for being obliged to remain here 

'Thus the title in the first edition; Dr. Riemann changes the word to "The highly 
esteemed Society" and says that it meant the Association of the Friends of Art and 
Music for the purpose of giving the charity concerts. 

*The celebrated dancer and ballet-master. 

Malzel's Musical Machines 251 

under such repulsive circumstances. Meanwhile I shall try to make up 
twofold all that you also lose in Baden. 

Beethoven soon returned to Baden, where for the present he 
may be left in the enjoyment of nature, taking such pleasure as 
his deafness still granted in Rasoumowsky's quartets, and sub- 
mitting with what patience he could to his servitude with the 

Malzel, during the past winter, had opened his "Kiinstler- 
cabinet" as a public exhibition. There w'ere marbles, bronzes and. 
paintings and a variety of contributions, scientific or curious, fronn 
various artists — among them a large electrical machine wuth 
apparatus for popular experiments, but the principal attractions", 
were his own Mechanical Trumpeter and the new Panharmonicon. 
The Trumpeter executed a French cavalry march with signals- 
and melodies which Malzel himself accompanied on the piano- 
forte. The Panharmonicon combined the common instru- 
ments then employed in military bands, with a powerful 
bellows — the whole being inclosed in a case. The motive powxr 
was automatic and the keys w^ere touched by pins fixed in a re- 
volving cylinder, as in the common hand-organ or music-box. 
Compositions of considerable extent had each its own cylinder. 
The first pieces made ready were Cherubini's "Lodoiska" Overture, 
Haydn's "Military" Symphony, the overture and a chorus from 
Handel's "Timotheus"; and by the end of January, Malzel was at 
work upon an echo piece composed for him some years before by 
Cherubini. In the course of the summer he added a "few- 
marches" composed by the popular young pianist, Moscheles, who 
during their preparation much frequented the workshop. 

Beethoven's "long journey" and "great act" both refer to 
a proposed journey to England with Malzel, seriously contem- 
plated during the first months of this year. Brunswick's visit to 
Vienna occurred just when the project seemed ripe for execution; 
as it was on his authority that Schindler reports the "farewell 
meal" and the singing of the canon, this may be accepted as 

The condition of Karl van Beethoven's health forced his 
brother to defer the journey; and Malzel, too, found reason to 
wait until the end of the year— the idea of his really very beautiful 
and striking exhibition, the "Conflagration of Moscow," had 
occurred to him and he willingly remained in Vienna to work it 
out. The change for the better in Karl van Beethoven's health 
and pecuniary condition, and the completion of the "Conflagra- 
tion," left both Beethoven and Malzel late in autumn free for 

252 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

their departure. The mechanician was not only a man of un- 
questionable inventive genius, but he also understood the public; 
knew as by instinct how to excite and gratify curiosity without 
disappointing expectation, and had the tact and skill so to arrange 
his exhibitions as to dismiss his visitors grateful for an amusement 
for which they had paid. He was personally both respected and 
popular. He knew by experience the principal cities of the Conti- 
nent, and London well enough to foresee, that the noble compo- 
sitions of Handel, Haydn and Cherubini secured the success of his 
Panharmonicon there; but that if he could add to its repertory 
some new, striking and popular piece, bearing the now great name 
of Beethoven, he would increase both its attractiveness and the 
public interest and curiosity in the composer. Battles and sieges 
had for many years been favorite subjects for descriptive music, 
and the grand engagements of the last fifty years w ere few indeed 
which had not been fought over again by orchestras, bands and 
all sorts of instruments. Poor Koczwara — who hanged himself 
in jest at London in 1792 — was the author of a "Grande Battaille" 
(in D) for orchestra, and the "Battaille de Prague" for pianoforte 
trio "avec tambour," or pianoforte solo, commemorative of a vic- 
tory of Frederick II of Prussia. This, for forty years, was a show- 
piece throughout Europe and even in America. Devenne com- 
posed the "Battle of Gemappe"; Neubauer, of Martinestie; 
Jadin, of Austerlitz; Fuchs, of Jena; and so on, for orchestra. The 
grand battle piece for two flutes, which is generally supposed to 
have existed but in a joke, the point of which is its absurdity, was 
really published — it was an arrangement of Fuchs' "Jena." For 
the pianoforte solo, or with the accompaniment of two or more 
instruments, the press teemed with battles. Among them were 
those of Fleurus, Wurzburg, Marengo, Jena (by others than Fuchs), 
Wagram, the bombardment of Vienna. Steibelt produced two 
land engagements and a "Combat naval"; Kauer, "Nelson's 
Battle"; and so on indefinitely. 

When, therefore, the news of Wellington's magnificent victory 
at Vittoria, June 21, 1813, reached Vienna, Miilzel saw instantly 
that it presented the subject of a composition for his Panhar- 
monicon than which none could be conceived better fitted to 
strike the popular taste in England. A work which should do 
homage to the hero, flatter national feeling by the introduction of 
"Rule Britannia" and "God save the King," gratify the national 
hatred of the French, celebrate British victory and Gallic defeat, 
bear the great name of Beethoven and be illuminated by his 
genius — what more could be desired.' He wrought out the plan 

"Wellington's Victory, or The Battle of Vittoria" 253 

and explained it to the composer, who, for once, consented to 
work out the ideas of another. In a sketchbook for this composi- 
tion, having signals for the battle on its first page, we read: "Wel- 
lington's Victory Vittoria, only God save the King, but a great 
victory overture for Wellington"; and in the so-called "Tagebuch" : 
"I must show the EngHsh a little what a blessing there is in God 
save the King"; perhaps, also, another remark just after this was 
occasioned by his experience on this work: "It is certain that one 
writes most beautifully when one writes for the public, also that 
one writes rapidly." There is nothing in this at all contra- 
dictory to Moscheles's positive and unimpeachable testimony on 
the origin of the work. In a note to his English edition of 
Schindler's book he writes: 

I witnessed the origin and progress of this work, and remember that 
not only did Malzel decidedly induce Beethoven to write it, but even 
laid before him the whole design of it; himself wrote all the drum-marches 
and the trumpet-flourishes of the French and English armies; gave the 
composer some hints, how he should herald the English army by the tune 
of "Rule Britannia"; how he should introduce "Malbrook" in a dismal 
strain; how he should depict the horrors of the battle and arrange "God 
save the King" with effects representing the hurrahs of a multitude. 
Even the unhappy idea of converting the melody of "God save the King" 
into a subject of a fugue in quick movement, emanates from Malzel. 
All this I saw in sketches and score, brought by Beethoven to Malzel's 
workshop, then the only suitable place of reception he was provided with. 

The same, in general and in most of its particulars, was re- 
lated to the author by Carl Stein, who was daily in Malzel's rooms 
— they being, as before noted, in his father's pianoforte manufac- 
tory — and who was firmly of the opinion, that Malzel was after- 
wards very unfairly, not to say unjustly, treated by Beethoven in 
the matter of this composition. The composer himself says: 
"I had already before then conceived the idea of a battle which 
was not practicable on his Panharmonica," thus by implication 
fully admitting that this idea was not his own; moreover, the copy 
of a part of the Panharmonicon score, in the Artaria Collection, 
has on the cover, in his own hand: "On Wellington's Victory at 
Vittoria, 1813, written for Hr. Malzel by Ludwig van Beethoven." 
This is all more or less confirmatory of Moscheles, if indeed any 
confirmation be needed. It is almost too obvious for mention, 
that Malzel's share in the work was even more than indicated 
above, because whoever WTote for the Panharmonicon must be 
frequently instructed by him as to its capacities and limitations, 
whether a Beethoven or the young Moscheles. We may reason- 
ably assume, that the general plan of "Wellington's Victory" was 

254 Thf Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

dfixed during the composer's occasional visits to the city in August 
and September, and such alterations in the score determined upon 
as the nature of the instrument demanded; so that early in October 
the whole was ready for Malzel to transfer to its cylinder. 

On Beethoven's return to his city lodging, between the 15th 
and 20th of September, his notes to Zmeskall become as usual 
numerous, the principal topic just now being the engagement of a 
new servant. While with the assistance and under the direction 
of the excellent Streichers, Beethoven got his lodgings and ward- 
robe into decent order, with the aid of Zmeskall he obtained that 
servant spoken of by Schindler, 

who was a tailor and carried on his trade in the anteroom of the composer. 
With the help of his wife he attended the master with touching care till 
into the year 1816 — and this regulated mode of life did our friend much 
_good. Would that it might have endured a few years longer. 

At this stage of the case there came also evidences of love and 
admiration from Princess Lichnowsky, which are well worth more de- 
tailed notice. The Prince was in the habit of frequently visiting his 
favorite in his workshop. In accordance with a mutual understanding 
no notice was to be taken of his presence, so that the master might not be 
disturbed. After the morning greeting the Prince was in the habit of 
looking through any piece of music that chanced to be at hand, watching 
the master at his work for a while and then leaving the room with a friendly 
**adieu." Nevertheless, these visits disturbed Beethoven, who occasion- 
ally locked the door. Unvexed, the Prince would walk down the three 
flights of stairs. As the sartorial servant sat in the anteroom, His 
Serene Highness would join him and wait until the door opened and he 
could speak a friendly greeting to the Prince of Music. The need was 
thus satisfied. But it was not given long to the honored Maecenas of 
Art to rejoice in his favorite and his creations. 

This is touching and trustworthy. 

To return to "Wellington's Victory." Schindler, supposing 
the Panharmonicon to have played it, remarked in the first edition 
of his book: "The effect of the piece was so unexpected that Mal- 
zel requested our Beethoven to instrumentate it for orchestra." 
He is mistaken as to the reason; for Malzel had only, in Beethoven's 
words, "begun to engrave." In truth, he was musician enough to 
see from the score, how verv effective it would be if instrumentated 
for grand orchestra, and sagacious enough to perceive, that the 
composition in that form might prove of far greater advantage to 
them in London and probably be more attractive afterwards 
when performed by the Panharmonicon. But there was another 
consideration far more important. 

Before the age of steam a journey from Vienna to London 
with the many huge cases required for even a part of Malzel 's 

A Benefit for Wounded Soldiers 255 

collection, was a very expensive undertaking. The problem 
now was, how to provide the necessary funds. Beethoven's were 
exhausted and his own were very limited. To go alone and give 
exhibitions at the principal cities on the way, involved little or 
no risk for Malzel, as the experience of the next year proved; but 
to make the journey direct, with Beethoven for his companion, 
was impossible until in some manner a considerable sum of ready 
money could be provided. 

The only resource of the composer, except borrowing, was, 
of course, the production of the two new Symphonies, one of which 
had been copied for trial with small orchestra at the Archduke's, 
thus diminishing somewhat the expenses of a concert. It was five 
years since he had had a benefit, and therefore one full house 
might be counted on with reasonable certainty; but no concert of 
his had ever been repeated, and a single full house would leave 
but a small margin of profit. Moreover, his fruitless efforts in the 
Spring to arrange an "Akademie" were discouraging. Unless the 
new Symphonies could be produced without cost to himself, and 
the interest and curiosity of the public so aroused as to insure the 
success of two or three subsequent concerts, no adequate fund 
for the journey could be gained; but if so great a sensation could 
in some manner be made as to secure this object, the fame of it 
would precede and nobly herald them in London. 

Beethoven was helpless; but Malzel's sagacity was equal to 
the occasion. He knew that for the highly cultivated classes of 
music-lovers, able and ready to appreciate the best, nothing better 
could be desired than new Symphonies by Beethoven; but such 
auditors are always limited in number; the programme must 
also contain something \surprising^__sensationa^^ 
^ulguSjto catch the ear of the__multItude][an3~open^ 
HiTTrumpeter was not enough; it had lost its noveltyPattlioTTgh 
with an orchestra instead of pianoforte accompaniment, it would 
be something. Beethoven alone could, if he would, produce what 
was indispensable. Time pressed, Malzel had long since closed 
his exhibition, and every day of delay was a serious expense. 
The "Conflagration of Moscow," the model of his Chronometer and 
the cjdinders for his Panharmonicon were all finished, except the 
"Victory," and this would soon be ready. Before the end of the 
year, therefore, he could be in Munich, as his interest impera- 
tively demanded, provided Beethoven should not be his companion. 
There was nothing to detain him in Vi^inaj after the "Victory" 
was completed, but his relations to the composer. Him he 
knew too well to hope from him any work deliberately written 

^56 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

with a view to please the multitude, had the time allowed, which 
it did not. 
-^ Preparations were making in October for two grand perform- 
ances on the 11th and 14th of November, in the R. I. Winter 
Riding Academy, of Handel's "Timotheus" for the benefit of the 
widows and orphans of Austrians and Bavarians who had fallen 
in the late campaign against Napoleon. On this hint Malzel 
formed his plan. This was, if Beethoven would consent to in- 
strumentate the "Victory" for orchestra — in doing which, being 
freed from the limitations of the Panharmonicon, he could give free 
play to his fancy — he (Malzel) would return to him the score, 
risk the sacrifice of it for its original purpose, remain in Vienna, 
and make it the popular attraction of a grand charity concert for 
the benefit of the Austrians and Bavarians wounded in the battle 
at Hanau, trusting that it would open the way for two or more 
concerts to be given for their own benefit. Under all the cir- 
cumstances, it is difficult to decide, whether to admire the more 
Malzel's good judgment, or his courageous trust in it and in 
Beethoven's genius. He disclosed his plan and purposes to the 
composer, they were approved by him, and the score was returned. 

While Beethoven wrought zealously on his task, Malzel busied 
himself with the preparations for the concert. His personal 
popularity, the charitable object in view, curiosity to study 
Beethoven's new productions, especially the battle-piece, secured 
the services of nearly all the leading musicians, some of whom 
were there only in passing or temporarily — Dragonetti, Meyer- 
beer, the bassoon-player Romberg, and others. Tomaschek, who 
heard the "Victory" next year, writes that he was "very painfully 
affected to see a Beethoven, whom Providence had probably 
assigned to the highest throne in the realm of music, among the 
rudest materialists. I was told, it is true, that he himself had 
declared the work to be folly, and that he liked it only because with 
it he had thoroughly thrashed the Viennese." There is no doubt 
that this was so; nor that they, who engaged in its performance, 
viewed it as a stupendous musical joke, and engaged in it con 
amore as in a gigantic professional frolic. 

The University Hall was granted on this occasion and the 8th 
of December was fixed for the concert. Young Gloggl was in 
Vienna, visited Beethoven, and was by him granted the privilege 
of attending the rehearsals. "I remember," he writes, 

that in one rehearsal the violin-players refused to play a passage in the 
symphony and rebuked him for writing difficulties which were incapable 
of performance. But Beethoven begged the gentlemen to take the parts 

Spohr Describes Beethoven's Conducting 257 

home with them — if they were to practise it at home it would surely go. 
The next day at the rehearsal the passage went excellently, and the gentle- 
men themselves seemed to rejoice that they had given Beethoven the 

Spohr, playing among the violins, 

for the first time saw Beethoven conduct and was surprised in the 
highest degree, although he had been told beforehand of what he now saw 
with his own eyes. Beethoven had accustomed himself [he says] to indi- 
cate expression to the orchestra by all manner of singular bodily move- 
ments. At 'piano he crouched down lower and lower as he desired the 
degree of softness. If a crescendo then entered he gradually rose again 
and at the entrance of the forte jumped into the air. Sometimes, too, 
he unconsciously shouted to strengthen the Jorte. It was obvious that 
the poor man could no longer hear the piano of his music. This was 
strikingly illustrated in the second portion of the first Allegro of the 
symphony. In one place there are two holds, one immediately after the 
other, of which the second is pianissimo. This, Beethoven had probably 
overlooked, for he began again to beat time before the orchestra had 
begun to play the second hold. Without knowing it, therefore, he had 
hurried ten or twelve measures ahead of the orchestra, when it began 
again and, indeed, pianissimo. Beethoven to indicate this had in his 
wonted manner crouched clean under the desk. At the succeeding cre- 
scendo he again became visible, straightened himself out more and more 
and jumped into the air at the point where according to his calculation 
the forte ought to begin. When this did not follow his movement he 
looked about in a startled way, stared at the orchestra to see it still 
playing pianissimo and found his bearings only when the long-expected 
forte came and was audible to him. Fortunately this comical incident 
did not take place at the performance. 

Malzel's first placards announcing the concert spoke of the 
battle-piece as his property; but Beethoven objecting to this, 
others were substituted in which it was said to have been composed 
"out of friendship, for his visit to London." No hint was con- 
veyed of Malzel's share in the composition. The programme was: 

I. "An entirely new Symphony," by Beethoven (the Seventh, in A />^ 


II. Two Marches played by Malzel's Mechanical Trumpeter, with 

full orchestral accompaniment — the one by Dussek, the atlier 
by Pleyel. 

III. "Wellington's Victory." 

The success of the performances was so unequivocal and 
splendid as to cause their repetition on Sunday, the 12th, at noon, 
at the same prices, 10 fl. and 5 fl. "The net receipts of the two 
performances, after deducting the unavoidable costs, were 4006 
florins, which were reverently turned over to the 'hohen Kriegs- 
Prasidio' for the purposes announced" ("Wiener Zeitung," 

258 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

December 20). The "Wiener Zeitung," "Allg. Mus. Zeit." of 
Leipsic, and the "Beobachter," contained excessively laudatory 
notices of the music and vivid descriptions of its effect upon the 
auditors, whose "applause rose to the point of ecstasy." The 
statements of the contemporary public prints are confirmed by 
the veteran Spohr, who reports that the Allegretto of the Seventh 
Symphony "was demanded da capo at both concerts." 

Schindler calls this rightly "one of the most important 
moments in the life of the master, at which all the hitherto diver- 
gent voices, save those of the professional musicians, united in 
proclaiming him worthy of the laurel." "A work like the battle- 
symphony had to come," adds Schindler with good judgment, 
"in order that divergent opinions might be united and the mouths 
of all opponents, of whatever kind, be silenced." Schindler also 
preserved a "Note of Thanks" prepared for the "Wiener Zeitung" 
and signed by Beethoven, which ends with a just and merited 
tribute to Malzel: 

(For the "Intelligenz-Blatt" of the "Wiener Zeitung.") 

I esteem it to be my duty to thank all the honored participants in 
the Academy given on December 8, and 12, for the benefit of the sick 
and wounded Austrian and Bavarian soldiers who fought in the battle 
at Hanau. 

It was an unusual congregation of admirable artists wherein every 
individual was inspired by the single thought of contributing something 
by his art for the benefit of the fatherland, and cooperated without con- 
sidering rank in subordinate places in the excellent execution of the whole. 

While Herr Schuppanzigh at the head of the violins carried the 
orchestra by his fiery and expressive playing, Hr. Chief-Chapelmaster 
Salieri did not scruple to beat time for the drummers and salvos; Hr. 
Spohr and Hr, Mayseder, each worthy of leadership because of his art, 
collaborated in the second and third places and Hr. Siboni and Giuliani 
also occupied subordinate positions. 

To me the direction of the whole was assigned only because the 
music was of my composition; had it been by another, I should have been 
as willing as Hr. HummeP to take my place at the big drum, as we were 
all filled with nothing but the pure love of country and of joyful sacrifice 
of our powers for those who sacrificed so much for us. 

But our greatest thanks are due to Hr. Malzel, since it was he who 
first conceived the idea of this academy and there fell to him afterward the 

^In a foot-note to Schindler's account of the performance of the battle-piece, Mo- 
scheles, the English translator, says: "I must claim for ray friend Meyerbeer the place 
here assigned to Hummel, who had to act in the cannonade; and this I may the more 
firmly assert as the cymbals having been intrusted to me, Meyerbeer and I had to 
play from one and the same part." At the repetitions of the work on January 2 and 24 
ensuing. Hummel directed what may well be called the "battery." As there were two 
large drums, one on one side of the stage and one on the other, Hummel no doubt 
played one and Meyerbeer the other. Being pianists, nothing but instruments of per- 
cussion could have been assigned them. 

Compositions and Publications of 1813 259 

management, care and arrangement — the most arduous labors of all. 
I must also thank him in particular, because by the projection of this 
academy, he gave me the opportunity, long and ardently desired, by 
means of the composition especially written for this philanthropic purpose 
and delivered to him without pay, to lay a work of magnitude upon the 
altar of the fatherland under the existing conditions. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 

Why was this document not printed.'^ Beethoven had sud- 
denly quarreled with Malzel. 

Evidence of the impatience with which Beethoven conducted 
the controversy with the heirs of Prince Kinsky, concerning the 
payment of the annuity installments, is given by a letter dated 
''Vienna, December 18, 1813," to Dr. Beyer, a lawyer in Prague, 
in which he says: 

I have many times cursed this unhappy decree through which I 
have been plunged into numberless sorrows. Oliva is no longer here and 
it is unendurable to lose so much time in the matter, which I steal from 
my art only to see things at a standstill. I have now sent a new opinion 
to Wolff, he wanted to begin legal proceedings, but I think it better as I 
have written to Wolff, first to send a petition to the general courts — give 
me your help in the matter and do not let me go to destruction, here, 
surrounded by innumerable enemies in everything that I do, I am almost 
desperate. My brother, whom I have overwhelmed with benevolences, 
with whose consent I certainly am .... partly in misery is — my greatest 
enemy! ... I would gladly have taken the entire matter out of Wolff's 
hands and placed it in yours, but we should only make new enemies. 

The ascertained compositions of this year are: 

I. Triumphal March, C major, for Kuffner's "Tarpeia." 

II. "Wellington's Victory." 

III. Song: "Der Bardengeist" ("On November 3d, 1813"). 

IV. Canon: "Kurz ist der Schmerz." (First form.) "For Herrn 
Naue as a souvenir from L. v. Beethoven, Vienna, November 23, 1813." 
Johann Friedrich Naue, successor to Tiirk as Musik-Direktor, etc., at 
Halle, born in 1790, appears to have been in Vienna on a visit this 

V. Irish airs quite, or nearly, completed. 

Publications : 

In Thomson's preface to the First Volume of "A Select Collection 
of Original Irish Airs," dated "Edinburgh, Anno 1814," he remarks: 
"After the volume was printed and some copies of it had been circulated, 
an opportunity occurred of sending it to Beethoven, who corrected the 
few inaccuracies that had escaped the notice of the Editor and his 
friends; and he trusts it will be found without a single error." 

It is to be inferred from this, that the first volume was published, at 
the latest, this year; but the corrections were not sent to Thomson until 
September, 1814. The songs were originally printed in numbers. Thus 

260 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of the first volume of the Scotch Songs, principally by Kozeluch and 
Pleyel, the First, Third, and Fourth Sets, now before the writer, contain 
25 songs each. 

It may be assumed then that at least a part of the Irish Songs came 
from the press in 1813. The song "Der Bardengeist" was published as 
a supplement to the "Musenalmanach" of Joh. Erichson for 1814. The 
preface of the almanac is dated November 20, 1813, and the book was 
doubtless published before New Year's Day, 1814. 

Chapter XIV 

The Year 1814— Popular Performances Repeated— Revision 
of "Fidelio" — The Opera Succeeds — Anton Schindler En- 
ters Beethoven's Life — The Quarrel with Malzel — Mosche- 
les — ^The Vienna Congress— J. W. Tomaschek — Count 
Rasoumowsky's Palace Burned — Compositions of the 


N the last day of 1813, the "Wiener Zeitung" contained 
this public notice: 

Musical Academy 

The desire of a large number of music-lovers whom I esteem as 
worthy of honor, to hear again my grand instrumental composition on 
I' Wellington's Victory at Vittoria," makes it my pleasant duty herewith to 
inform the valued public that on Sunday, the 2d of January, I shall have 
the honor to perform the aforementioned composition with added vocal 
pieces and choruses and aided by the most admirable musicians of Vienna 
in the R. I. large Ridotto Room for my benefit. 

Tickets of admission are to be had daily in the Kohlmarkt in the 
house of Baron v. Haggenmuller, to the right of the court on the ground 
floor, in the comptoir of Baron v. Pasqualati; parterre 2 fl. gallery 3 fl. 
Vienna standard. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 

Malzel saw, therefore, that the objects for which he had 
sacrificed the "Battle," for which he had lost so many precious 
weeks and had spent so much labor and pains, were accomplished 
in so far as Beethoven's new works were now the subjects of 
general interest and curiosity, and their repeated performance to 
large and profitable audiences was secured. To his courage and 
sagacity this was wholly due. It is thoroughly unjust to deny or 
ignore the value of his services. What his feelings were now, to 
find himself deprived of all share in the benefit resulting from them, 
and therefore left without compensation, may readily be conceived. 
His Mechanical Trumpeter was necessarily discarded with him- 
self, and Beethoven had to find something to take its place on the 


262 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

programme. Hence this note (in December) to Moritz Lich- 

If you, worthy Count, want to take part in our consultation I 
inform you that it will be held this afternoon at half after 3 o'clock in the 
Spielmann house on the Graben 1188 in the fourth storey at Hr. Wein- 
miiller's — it would rejoice me time permitting if you were to attend. 

Entirely your 


The result of this conference was the selection of Nos. 6, 7 and 
8 of the "Ruins of Athens" music, viz: the "Solemn March with 
Chorus" and the concluding Bass Air, sung by Weinmliller, with the 
choruses. The last was exceedingly appropriate in a concert in 
the Redouten-Saal, it being the number in which (as in the old 
Bonnian "Blick in die Zukiinft") the bust of the monarch is made 
suddenly to appear. To insure the effectiveness of this is the 
object of a humorous note to Zmeskall, on New Year's Day. 

All would be well if there were but a curtain, without it the Air will 
fall through. Only to-day do I learn this from S. and it grieves me — let 
there be a curtain even if it be only a bed-curtain, only a sort of screen 
which can be removed for the moment, a veil, etc. There must be some- 
thing, the Air is too dramatic, too much written for the theatre, to be 
effective in a concert ; without a curtain or something of the sort all of its 
meaning will be lost! — lost! — lost! — To the devil with everything! 
The Court will probably come, Baron Schweiger asked me to go there at 
once, Archduke Karl admitted me to his presence and promised to come. 
The Empress did not accept nor did she decline. 

Hangings! ! ! or the Air and I will hang to-morrow. Farewell in 
the new year, I press you as warmly to my heart as in the old — with or 
without curtain. 

The orchestra was for the most part composed of the same 
professional and amateur artists as had taken part in the two 
previous concerts, so that the rehearsals were comparatively in- 
expensive, the only new music being the selections from "The 
Ruins"; but Salieri, as director of the cannonade, gave place to 
Hummel. Franz Wild, the singer, was present and records in his 
"Autobiography" his reminiscences of the occasion thus: 

He (Beethoven) mounted the conductor's platform, and the orches- 
tra, knowing his weakness, found itself plunged into an anxious excitement 
which was justified only too soon; for scarcely had the music begun 
before its creator offered a bewildering spectacle. At the piano passages 
he sank upon his knee, at the forte he leaped up, so that his figure, now 
shrivelling to that of a dwarf, disappeared under the desk and anon 
stretched up far above it like a giant, his hands and arms working as if 
with the beginning of the music a thousand lives had entered every 
member. At first this happened without disturbance of the effect of the 

Success of the Battle Music 263 

composition, for the disappearance and appearance of his body was 
synchronous with the dying away and the swelhng of the music; but all at 
once the genius ran ahead of his orchestra and the master disappeared at 
the forte passages and appeared again at the piano. Now danger was im- 
minent and at the critical moment Chapelmaster Umlauf took the com- 
mander's staff and it was indicated to the orchestra that he alone was to 
be obeyed. For a long time Beethoven noticed nothing of the change; 
when he finally observed it, a smile came to his lips which, if ever a one 
which kind fate permitted me to see could be called so, deserved to be 
called "heavenly." 

The composer had every reason to be satisfied with the 
result, for not only was it pecuniarly profitable but 

the applause was general and reached the highest ecstasy. Many 
things had to be repeated, and there was a unanimous expression of a 
desire on the part of all the hearers to hear the compositions again and 
often, and to have occasion more frequently to laud and admire our native 
composer for works of his brilliant invention. 

So speaks the "Wiener Zeitung" on the 9th, which on the 24tli 
of January printed this: 

Note of Thanks. 

I had the good fortune on the occasion of a performance of my com- 
positions at the concert given by me on January 2, to have the support 
and help of a large number of the most admirable and celebrated artists 
of the city, and to see my works brilliantly made known by the hands 
of such virtuosos. Though these artists may have felt themselves re- 
warded by their own zeal for art and the pleasure which they gave the 
public through their talents, it is yet my duty publicly to express to them 
my thanks for their mark of friendship for me and ready support. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 

*'Only in this room" (the large Redoutensaal), says Schindler, 
"was the opportunity offered to put into execution the manifold 
intentions of the composer in the Battle Symphony. With the 
help of the long corridors and the rooms opposite to each other 
the opposing forces were enabled to approach each other and the 
desired illusion was strikingly achieved." Schindler was among 
the listeners on this occasion and gives assurance that the 
enthusiasm awakened by the performance, "heightened by the 
patriotic feeling of those memorable days," was overwhelming. 

Among the direct consequences of this sudden and boundless 
popularity of Beethoven's music, to which Malzel had given the 
occasion and impulse, was one all the more gratifying, because 
totally unexpected — the revival of "Fidelio." 

"The Inspizienten of the R. I. Court Opera, Saal, Vogel and 
Weinmiiller, about this time were granted a performance for their 

264 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

benefit, the choice of a work being left to them, without cost." 
There was then no opera, German, French or Italian, likely to 
draw a remunerative house in the repertory of the theatre, which 
could be produced without expense to the institution. The 
sensation caused by Beethoven's new music, including the num- 
bers from "The Ruins of Athens" in which Weinmiiller had just 
sung, suggested "Fidelio." All three had been in Vienna at its 
production and therefore knew it sufficiently to judge of its fitness 
for them as singers, and the probability of its now being successful; 
at all events the name of Beethoven would surely secure for their 
night a numerous audience. "Beethoven was approached for the 
loan of the opera," says Treitschke, who had this year been re- 
appointed stage-manager and poet at the Kiirnthnerthor-Theater 
after having been employed some years at the Theater-an-der- 
Wien, "and very unselfishly declared his willingness, but on the 
unequivocal condition that many changes be made." 

At the same time he proposed my humble self as the person to 
make these changes. I had enjoyed his more intimate friendship for 
some time, and my twofold position as stage-manager and opera-poet 
made his wish a pious duty. With Sonnleithner's permission I first took 
up the dialogue, wrote it almost wholly anew, succinct and clear as pos- 
sible — an essential thing in the case of Singspiele. 

The principal changes made by Treitschke were, by his own 
account, these: 

The scene of the entire first act was laid in an open court; the posi- 
tions of Nos. 1 and 2, were exchanged; later the guard entered to a 
newly composed march; ieo/iore's Air received a new introduction, and 
only the last movement, "O du, ftir den ich alles trug," was retained. 
The succeeding scene and duet — according to Seyfried's description "a 
charming duettino for soprano voices with concertante parts for violin 
and violoncello, C major, 6/8 time" — which was in the old book, Beethoven 
tore out of the score; the former (he said) was unnecessary, the latter a 
concert-piece; I was compelled to agree with him; the purpose in view 
was to save the opera as a whole. A little terzetto for Rocco, Mar- 
celline and Jacquino which followed ("a most melodious terzetto in E- 
flat" as Se;y'fried says) fared no better. There had been a want of action 
and the music did not warm the hearers. A new dialogue was desired to 
give more occasion for the first finale. My friend was again right in 
demanding a different ending. I made many plans; at length we came 
to an agreement: to bring together the return of the prisoners at the 
command of Pizarro and their lamentation. 

The second act offered a great difficulty at the very outset. Beet- 
hoven at first wanted to distinguish poor Florestan with an aria, but 
I offered the objection that it would not be possible to allow a man 
nearly dead of hunger to sing bravura. ^Ye composed one thing and 

Treitschke's Revision of "Fidelio" 265 

another; at last, in my opinion, I hit the nail on the head. I wrote words 
which describe the last blazing up of hfe before its extinguishment: 

"Und spur' ich nicht linde, sanft sauselnde Luft, 

Und ist nicht mein Grab mir erhellet ? 
Ich seh', wie ein Engel, in rosigem Duft, 

Sich trostend zur Seite mir stellet. 
Ein Engel, Leonoren, der Gattin so gleich! 
Der fuhrt mich zur Freiheit,— ins himmlische Reich!" 

What I am now relating will live forever in my memory. Beet- 
hoven came to me about seven o'clock in the evening. After we had 
discussed other things, he asked how matters stood with the aria.? It 
was just finished, I handed it to him. He read, ran up and down the 
room, muttered, growled, as was his habit instead of singing — and tore 
open the pianoforte. My^ wife had often vainly begged him to play; 
to-day he placed the text in front of him and began to improvise mar- 
vellously — music which no magic could hold fast. Out of it he seemed to 
conjure the motive of the aria. The hours went by, but Beethoven im- 
provised on. Supper, which he had purposed to eat with us, was served, 
but — he would not permit himself to be disturbed. It was late when he 
embraced me, and declining the meal, he hurried home. The next day 
the admirable composition was finished. 

Concerning this air, Rockel writes: 

Measurably to satisfy the new Florestan (the Italian Radichi), who 
wanted to be applauded after his air, which was not possible nor fitting 
to the situation nor desirable after the 'pianissimo conclusion of Florestan's 
air with the con sordino accompaniment of the violins, without writing a 
new air, Beethoven cut the Adagio in two and concluded with an Allegro 
in the high register of the singer; but as the noise of applause would not 
have been increased by Rocco and Fidelio, who enter at this moment to 
dig a grave for the supposedly dead man, the composer concluded the 
noisy Allegro with a coda for the orchestra ending with a new pianis- 
simo, by which device the silence essential to the succeeding scene was 
again restored. 

Treitschke continues: 

Nearly all the rest in the second act was confined to abbreviations 
and changes in the poetry. I think that a careful comparison of the 
two printed texts will justify my reasons. The grandiose quartet: "Er 
sterbe," etc., was interrupted by me with a short pause during which 
Jacquino and other persons report the arrival of the Minister and make 
the accomplishment of the murder impossible by summoning Pizarro 
away. After the next duet Rocco comes and accompanies Florestan and 
Leonore to the Minister. 

At this point, Treitschke avoided what had always appeared 
to him to be "a great fault" — namely, that the dungeon was the 
scene of the entire second act — by introducing a change in the 
scenery so that the conclusion should be "in full daylight upon 
a bright green courtyard of the palace." 

266 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Before the middle of February the alterations to be made 
were determined by musician and poet, and each began his task; 
both were hindered by frequent interruptions, and its completion 

Beethoven's attention to it was immediately called away by 
the concert of which these two notes speak: 

No. I. 

(To Brunswick.) 

Vienna, February 13, 1814, Dear friend and brother! You wrote 
to me recently, I write to you now — you no doubt rejoice over all victories 
— also over mine — on the 27th of this month I shall give a second concert 
in the large Ridotto Room — Come up — You know it now. Thus I am 
gradually rescuing myself from my misery, for from my salaries I have 
not yet received a penny. ^ Schuppanzigh has written to Michalcovics' 
whether it would be worth while to come to Of en; what do you think? 
Of course such a thing would have to take place in a theatre. My opera 
is going to be performed, but I am writing much of it over. I hope you are 
living contentedly, that is not a little, so far as I am concerned, good 
heavens, my kingdom is in the air, like the wind the tones often whirl in 
my soul — I embrace you. 

No. II. 

(To Archduke Rudolph.) 

I hope for pardon for my non-attendance. Your displeasure would 
punish me when I am innocent; in a few days I will make it all up. They 
intend to perform my opera "Fidelio" again. This gives me a great deal 
of work, and despite my healthy appearance I am not well. For my 
second concert the arrangements have been made in part, I must com- 
pose something new for Milder in it. Meanwhile I hear, and it is 
comforting to me, that Y. I. H. is in better health,^ I hope, unless I am 

^Concerning the revision of "Fidelio" there is much information in the so-called 
Dessauer sketchbook (now in the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 
Vienna), which unquestionably belongs in the year 1814. This sketchbook contains 
first of all the two new finales for the opera. On page li is the remark: "For Milder, 
B-flat above," which no doubt refers to the measure before the last in Leonores aria. 
Then follow, p. 8'2, Florestan's air, p. 90 the melodrama, p. 108 the recitative "Ab- 
scheulicher, wo eilst du hin," p. 112 "Un lieto Brindisi," p. 123 sketches for a symphony 
"2nd movement Comi," p. 133 "Sanft wie du lebtest" (the "Elegiac song"), p. 141 
"Symphony, 2nd movement," p. 142 "Sanft wie du lebtest," again, p. 148 "Ihr 
weisen Griinder (Homage Cantata), p. 160 "Europa steht" ("Der glorreiche Augen- 
blick") with only two or three measures of music, pp. 161-164 again "Ihr weisen 
Griinder." Besides these, Nottebohm recognized sketches for the Farewell song for 
Tuscher ("Die Stunde schlagt"), for the first movement of the Sonata, Op. 90, and to 
the overtures to "Fidelio" and "Namensfeier." 

^Beethoven here, of course, alludes only to the arrears in payments on his annuity 
of Lobkowitz and Kinsky. 

Uohann Alois Michalcovics, "Konigl. Stadthaltereiagent ' in Of en, had been some 
years before in the same office with Zmeskall in Vienna, and a member of that jovial 
mu.sical circle of which young Beethoven was the prominent figure. Like Zmeskall and 
Brunswick, he was a fine violoncellist. 

*The Archduke was so troubled with gout in his hands that he had to abandon 
pianoforte playing. 

"Wellington's Victory" Repeated 267 

flattering myself too much, soon again to contribute to it. In the mean- 
time I have taken the liberty to inform my Lord Falstaff^ that he will 
soon graciously be permitted to appear before Y. I. H. 

The "Wiener Zeitung" of February 24th contains the ad- 
vertisement of the "Akademie, next Sunday, the 27th inst. in 
the large Redoutensaal," announcing "a new symphony not yet 
heard and an entirely new as yet unheard terzetto" as novelties. 
To Hummel, Beethoven now wrote: 

I beg of you conduct this time again the drumheads and can- 
nonades with your admirable chapelmastei and field-marshall's baton — 
do it, I beg of you, and if ever I am wanted to cannonade you, I shall be 
at your service body and soul. 

The report in the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." contains the programme 
in full with a few short and pertinent observations: 

1. The new symphony (A major) which was received with so much 
applause, again. The reception was as animated as at the first time; 
the Andante (A minor) the crown of modern instrumental music, as at 
the first performance had to be repeated. 

2. An entirely new Italian terzetto (B-flat major) beautifully 
sung by Mad. Milder-Hauptmann, Hrn. Siboni and Hrn. Weinmiiller, 
is conceived at the outset wholly in the Italian style, but ends with a 
fiery Allegro in Beethoven's individual style. It was applauded. 

3. An entirely new, hitherto unheard symphony (F major, "^/i 
time). The greatest interest of the listeners seemed centered on this, the 
newest product of B's muse, and expectation was tense, but this was not 
suflaciently gratified after the single hearing, and the applause which it 
received was not accompanied by that enthusiasm which distinguishes a 

.work which gives universal delight; in short — as the Italians say — it did 
not create a furore. This reviewer is of the opinion that the reason does 
not lie by any means in weaker or less artistic workmanship (for here 
as in all of B's works of this class there breathes that peculiar sj)irit by 
which his originality always asserts itself) ; but partly in the faulty judg- 
ment which permitted this symphony to follow that in A major, partly 
in the surfeit of beauty and excellence which must necessarily be followed 
by a reaction. If this symphony should be performed alone hereafter, 
we have no doubt of its success. 

4. At the close, "Wellington's Victory in the battle of Vittoria" was 
given again, the first part, the Battle, having to be repeated. The 
performance left nothing to be desired; and the attendance was again very 

The "something new for Milder" resulted in something rather 
old; for the terzetto in which she sang was the "Tremate, empj, 
tremate," fully sketched in 1801-1802, but now first written out 
and completed in its present form. 


268 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Schindler discovered among Beethoven's papers, and has 
communicated substantially in his book, certain accounts of ex- 
penses incurred in this concert. Only the Eighth Symphony and the 
terzetto had to be copied; for these "the specification amounted 
in total: 452 written pages at 12 kreutzers, makes 90 florins, 24 
kr.; the specified cost of the orchestra alone at this concert 
amounted to 344 florins. Nevertheless, only 7 first violinists and 
only 6 seconds who were paid some 5 some 7 fl. are mentioned by 
name, because in each part twice as many dilettanti had played." 
One of Beethoven's own memoranda gives the exact number of the 
string instruments: "At my last concert in the large Ridotto- 
room there were 18 first violins, 18 second, 14 violas, 12 violon- 
cellos, 17 contra-basses, 2 contra-bassoons." Whether the au- 
dience numbered 5000, as Schindler reports, or 3000, which is 
more likely, the clear pecuniary profits of the two concerts were 
very large. Czerny remembered that on this occasion the Eighth 
Symphony "by no means pleased" and Beethoven was angry 
thereat, "because it is much better," he said. Another of his 
reminiscences is that Beethoven "often related with much pleasure 
how, when walking on the Kahlenberg after the performance of the 
Eighth Symphony, he got some cherries from a couple of girls and 
when he asked the price of one of them, she replied: 'I'll take 
nothing from you. We saw you in the Ridotto-room when we 
heard your beautiful music' " 

The University Law Students had a composition by Beethoven 
on the programme of their concert, on February 12; the Medical 
Students opened their concert, March 6, with the "Egmont" 
Overture; and the Regiment Deutschmeister, theirs of March 25 
with that to "Coriolan" ; with these concerts Beethoven had nothing 
to do; but in the Annual Spring "Akademie," March 25, in the 
Karnthnerthor-Theater for the Theatre Poor Fund, he conducted 
the "Egmont" Overture and "Wellington's Victory." 

Both poet and composer had now been again delayed in their 
"Fidelio" studies, in this wise: The French Armies had so often 
taken possession of the capitals of the various Continental states, 
that the motives are inconceivable, which induced Schwarzenberg 
to restrain the approach of the allied armies on Paris, until 
Bliicher's persistence, enforced by his victories, at last compelled 
the Commander-in-Chief to yield the point. When this became 
known in Vienna, it was determined to celebrate the event, so 
soon as news of it should arrive, by an appropriate performance in 
the Court Opera. To this end, Treitschke wrote a Sijigspiel in 
one act entitled "Gute Nachricht" ("Good News"). Of the nine 

First Performance of the Trio in B-flat 269 

pieces of music in it, the overture was given to Hummel and the 
concluding chorus, "Germania, wie stehst du jetzt im Glanze da," 
to Beethoven. 

In a note to Treitschke, called out by the proposed changes in 
the scenery of "Fidelio," Beethoven wrote: 

The arrival of the Spaniards, which is only suggested in the play, 
not visibly presented, might be utilized for the multitude to open the big 
hole of the Wiedener Theatre [the stage] — and there might be a good deal 
of spectacle besides and the music would not be wholly lost, and I should 
willingly add something new if it were asked. 

Towards the end of March, Beethoven received the new text 
to "Fidelio." To Treitschke he wrote: "I have read your amend- 
ments to the opera with great pleasure; they determine me to re- 
build the ruins of an old castle." A letter to the poet refers again 
to the chorus which he had composed for Treitschke's Singspiel: 

I beg you, dear T., to send me the score of the song so that the inter- 
polated note may be written into all the instruments — I shall not take 
it at all amiss if you have it newly composed by Gyrowetz or anybody 
else — preferably Weinmiiller — I make no pretensions in the matter, 
but I will not suffer that any man — no matter who he may be — change 
my compositions, 

Beethoven's attention was now again called away from the 
opera by a concert in the hall of the Hotel zum Romischen 
Kaiser, arranged by the landlord and Schuppanzigh for a military 
charity. Czerny relates that a new grand trio had then for some 
time been a subject of conversation among Beethoven's friends, 
though no one had heard it. This work, Op. 97, in B-flat major, 
w^as to open the second part of the concert and the composer had 
consented to play in it. Spohr was by chance in Beethoven's 
rooms at one of the rehearsals and heard him play — the only time. 
'Tt was not a treat," he writes: 

for, in the first place, the pianoforte was badly out of tune, which Beet- 
hoven minded little, since he did not hear it; and secondly, there was 
scarcely anything left of the virtuosity of the artist which had formerly 
been so greatly admired. In forte passages the poor deaf man pounded 
on the keys till the strings jangled, and in piano he played so softly that 
whole groups of tones were omitted, so that the music was unintelligible 
unless one could look into the pianoforte part. I was deeply saddened at 
so hard a fate. If it is a great misfortune for any one to be deaf, how 
shall a musician endure it without giving way to despair.'* Beethoven's 
continual melancholy was no longer a riddle to me.' 

lAt this time Moscheles was a regular listener at the quartet performances at 
Schuppanzigh's. Concerning one of them, he writes ("Aus Moscheles' Leben," I, p. 18): 
"I sat beside Spohr, we exchanged opinions about what we heard: Spohr spoke with 
great heat against Beethoven and his imitators." 

270 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The concert took place at noon on Monday, April 11. 
Moscheles was present and wrote in his diary: 

In the case of how many compositions is the word "new" misappHed! 
But never in Beethoven's, and least of all in this, which again is full of 
originality. His playing, aside from its intellectual element, satisfied 
me less, being wanting in clarity and precision; but I observed many 
traces of the grand style of playing which I had long recognized in his 

In those days a well-to-do music-lover, named Pettenkofer, 
gathered a number of young people into his house every Saturday 
for the performance of instrumental music. One evening a pupil 
of Schuppanzigh's requested his neighbor at the music-stand, a 
youth of 18 years, to take a note from his teacher next day to 
Beethoven, proposing a rehearsal of the Trio, and requiring no 
answer but "yes" or "no." "I undertook the commission with 
joy," he records: 

The desire to be able to stand for even a moment beside the man 
whose works had for several years inspired me with the greatest reverence 
for their author, was now to be so unexpectedly and strangely realized. 
The next morning the bearer of the note, with beating heart, climbed the 
four flights in the Pasqualati house, and was at once led by the sartorial 
servant to the writing table of the master. After he had read the missive, 
he turned to me and said "Yes"; with a few rapidly added questions the 
audience came to an end; but at the door I permitted myself to tarry 
a little while to observe the man, who had already resumed his writing, 

} This youth was Anton Schindler. He continues his narrative: 

This, almost the most important event in the life-history of the poor 
student up to that time, was soon followed by the acquaintanceship of 
Schuppanzigh. He gave me a ticket for the concert of April 11, given 
by him. . . . On this occasion I approached the great master with more 
confidence, and greeted him reverently. He answered pleasantly and 
showed that he remembered the carrier of the note. 

And thus ended all personal intercourse between Schindler and 
Beethoven until the end of the year — a fact to be noted. 

A few weeks later Beethoven played in the Trio again at a 
morning concert of Schuppanzigh's in the Prater, and thus — 
excepting once accompanying a song — he took leave of the 
public as a pianist. 

"Gute Nachricht" was first played also on the evening of 
Monday, April 11 ; for the news of the triumphal entry of the allied 
armies (March 31), as Moscheles records in his diary, reached 
Vienna the day before. It was repeated on the 12th, 14th, 17th, 

Beethoven Quarrels with Malzel 271 

24th and May 3rd, in the Karnthnerthor-Theater, and on June 
11th and 14th in the Burg. 

Meantime an event had occurred, the effect of which on Beet- 
hoven is nowhere indicated; but let us hope and believe that it, 
for the moment, unfitted him for labor — Prince Carl Lichnowsky, 
his old friend and protector, died April 15. It is gratifying that 
the last notice of him in our work is that touching reminiscence 
by Schindler, which proves that time had neither cooled nor 
diminished the warm affection that he had conceived twenty years 
before for the young Bonn pianist. 

The following note to Zmeskall was written about this time: 

Dear Z. : I am not going on the journey, at least I am not going to 
hurry — the matter must be pondered more carefully — meanwhile the 
work has already been sent to the Prince Regent : — // 1 am wanted I can 
he had, and then liberty remains with me to say yes or no. Liberty! ! ! 
What more do I want.'* ? ? 

I should like to consult with you about how to settle myself in my 

This new lodging, for which Beethoven now left the Pa- 
squalati house, was in the 1st storey of the Bartenstein house, also 
on the Molker Bastei (No. 96); so that he still remained in the 
immediate vicinity of his friends, Princess Christine Lichnowsky 
and the Erdodys. 

The other matters mentioned in the note call our attention 
again to Malzel, who, notwithstanding his bitter disappointment 
at the turn which his affairs with Beethoven had taken, had still 
lingered in Vienna several weeks in the hope of making some 
kind of amicable arrangement with him. As his side of the story 
was never made public, there is little to add to the information 
on the subject contained in the papers of Beethoven, preserved 
by Schindler. From them these facts appear; that Beethoven 
repaid the fifty ducats of borrowed money; that Malzel and he had 
several interviews at the office of the lawyer, Dr. Adlersburg, 
which had for their subject the "Battle of Vittoria" and the journey 
to England; that he made various propositions which Beethoven 
would not accept "to get the work, or at least the right of first 
performance for himself," and the like; that, incensed by the 
conduct of the composer and hopeless of benefit from any farther 
consultation, he did not appear at the last one appointed; and that 
he obtained by stealth so many of the single parts of the "Battle" 
as to be enabled therefrom to have a pretty correct score of the 
work written out, with which he departed to Munich and there 
produced it in two concerts on the 16th and 17th of March. 

272 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

When this became known in Vienna^ Beethoven's wrath was 
excited and, instead of treating the matter with contemptuous 
silence, or at most making an appeal to the public in the news- 
papers, he committed the absurdity of instituting a lawsuit against 
a man already far on his way to the other extremity of Europe, at 
the same time in all haste preparing a copy of the "Battle" and 
sending it to the Prince Regent of England, that at least he might 
prevent Malzel from producing it there as a novelty. It was a 
costly and utterly useless precaution; for, on the one hand, Malzel 
found in London no inducement to attempt orchestral concerts, 
and on the other, the score sent by Beethoven lay buried in the 
library of the Prince, who neither then nor ever took the slightest 
notice of it (except to permit its performance, as we shall presently 
see) or made any acknowledgment to the composer. 

Casting aside all extraneous matter contained in Beethoven's 
documents, the real question at issue is very clear. The two 
leading facts — one of which is admitted by implication, and the 
other explicitly stated by Beethoven himself — are already known 
to the reader: First, that the plan of the work was Malzel's; 
second, that the composer wrought it out for the Panharmonicon 
gratis. In this form, therefore, the composition beyond all doubt 
was Malzel's property. There was, therefore, but one point to be 
decided: Did the arrangement of the work for orchestra at 
Malzel's suggestion and request, transfer the proprietorship .^^ If 
it did, Beethoven had a basis for his suit; if it did not, he had none. 
This question was never decided; for after the process had lingered 
through several years, the two men met, made peace, Beethoven 
withdrew his complaint, and each paid the half of all expenses 
that had been incurred 1^ 

i"In April, 1814, Beethoven received from Munich news of the performance of the 
Battle Symphony in that city by Malzel, and also a report that the latter had said that 
he had to recompense himself with this work for a debt of 400 ducats which Beethoven 
owed him." Schindler I, 3rd ed., p. 236. 

*The documents in the controversy between Beethoven and Malzel alluded to, 
together with Mr. Thayer's comments on them, are appended in this foot-note to 
prevent a too long interruption of the biographical narrative: 


Of my own volition I had composed a Battle Symphony for Malzel for his Pan- 
harmonica without pay. After he had had it for a while he brought me the score, the 
engraving of which he had already begun — [Beethoven probably meant that Malzel 
had begun the preparation of the cylinder — H.E.K.] and wanted it arranged for full 
orchestra. I had previously formed the idea of a Battle (Music) which, however, was 
not applicable to his Panharraonica. We agreed to perform this work and others of 
mine in a concert for the benefit of the soldiers. Meanwhile I got into the most terrible 
financial embarrassment. Deserted by the whole world here in Vienna, in expectation 
of a bill of exchange, etc., Malzel offered me 50 ducats in gold. I took them and told 
him that I would give them back to him here, or would let him take the work with him to 

Documents in the Malzel Case 273 

Thus had been caused a new interruption of the work on 

"The beneficiaries," says Treitschke, "urged its completion 
to take advantage of the favorable season; but Beethoven made 
slow progress. To one of the poet's notes urging haste, Beethoven 
wrote, probably in April: 

The damned Academy, which I was compelled to give partly by 
my bad circumstances, has set me back so far as the opera is concerned. 

London in case I did not go with him — in which latter case I would refer him to an Eng- 
lish publisher who would pay him these 50 ducat''. The Academies were now given. 
In the meantime Malzel's plan and character were developed. Without ray consent he 
printed on the placards that it was his property. Incensed at this he had to have these 
torn down. Now he printed: "Out of friendship for his journey to London"; to this I 
consented, because I thought that I was still at liberty to fix the conditions on which I 
would let him have the work. I remember that I quarrelled violently with him while 
the notices were printing, but the too short time — I was still writing on the work. In 
the heat of my inspiration, immersed in my work, I scarcely thought of Malzel. 
Immediately after the first Academy in the University Hall, I was told on all hands by 
trustworthy persons that Malzel was spreading it broadcast that he had loaned me 400 
ducats in gold. I thereupon had the following printed in the newspaper, but the news- 
paper writers did not print it as Malzel is befriended with all of them. Immediately 
after the first Academy I gave back to Malzel his 50 ducats, telling him that having 
learned his character here, I would never travel with him, righteously enraged because 
he had printed on the placards, without my consent, that all the arrangements for the 
Academy were badly made and his bad patriotic character showed itself in the follow- 
ing expressions — I [unprintable] — if only they will say in London that the public here 
paid 10 florins; not for the wounded but for this did I do this — and also that I would 
not let him have the work for London except on conditions concerning which I would let 
him know. He now asserted that it was a gift of friendship and had this expression 
printed in the newspaper without asking me about it in the least. Inasmuch as Malzel 
is a coarse fellow, entirely without education, or culture, it may easily be imagined how 
he conducted himself toward me during this period and increased my anger more and 
more. .\nd who would force a gift of friendship upon such a fellow.' I was now 
offered an opportunity to send the work to the Prince Regent. It was now impossible 
to give him the work unconditionally. He then came to you and made proposals. 
He was told on what day to come for his answer; but he did not come, went away and 
performed the work in Munich. How did he get it.'' Theft was impossible — Herr 
Malzel had a few of the parts at home for a few days and from these he had the whole 
put together by some musical handicraftsman, and with this he is now trading around 
in the world. Herr Malzel promised me hearing machines. To encourage him I com- 
posed the Victory Symphony for his Panharmonica. His machines were finally finished, 
but were useless for me. For this small trouble Herr Malzel thinks that after I had 
set the Victory Symphony for grand orchestra and composed the Battle for it, I ought 
to have him the sole owner of this work. Now, assuming that I really felt under some 
obligation for the hearing machines, it is cancelled by the fact that he made at least 500 
florins convention coin, out of the Battle stolen from me or compiled in a mutilated 
manner. He has therefore paid himself. He had the audacity to say here that he had 
the Battle; indeed he showed it in writing to several persons — but I did not believe it, 
and I was right, inasmuch as the whole was not compiled by me but by another. Moreover, 
the honor which he credits to himself alone might be a reward. / iiias not mentioned at 
all by the Court War Council, and yet everything in the two academies was of my com- 
position. If, as he said, Herr Malzel delayed his journey to London because of the 
Battle, it was merely a hoax. Herr Malzel remained until he had finished his patch- 
work (?), the first attempts not being successful. 

Beethoven, m. p. 
Explanation and Appeal to the Musicians of London 
BY LuDWiG van Beethoven 
Herr Malzel, who is at present in London, on his way thither performed my 
Victory Symphony and Wellington s Battle at Vittoria in Munich, and. according to 

274 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

The cantata which I wanted to give robbed me of 5 or 6 days. 

Now, of course, everything must be done at once and I could write 
something new more quickly than add new things to old — I am ac- 
customed in writing, even in my instrumental music — to keep the whole 
in view, but here my whole, has — in a manner — been distributed every- 
where and I have got to think myself back into my work ever and anon — 
it is not likely that it will be possible to give the opera in a fortnight, I 
think that it will be 4 weeks. 

Meanwhile the first act will be finished in a few days — but there 
remains much to do in the 2nd Act, and also a new overture, which will 

report, will also give concert performances of it in London as he was also willing to do 
in Frankfort. This leads me publicly to declare: that I never under any circumstances 
yielded or gave these works to Herr Malzel, that nobody possesses a copy of them, and 
that the only one which I gave out was sent to his Royal Highness, the Prince Regent 
of England. 

The performance of these works on the part of Herrn Malzel, therefore, is a fraud 
on the public, inasmuch as according to this explanation he is not in possession of them, 
or if he is in possession of them an infringement on my rights, as he has obtained them 
in an illegal manner. 

But even in the latter case the public will be deceived, for that which Herr Malzel 
will give them to hear under the title: Wellington s Battle at Vittoria and Victory Sym- 
phony, must obviously be a spurious or mutilated work, since he never received anything 
of these works from me except a single part for a few days. 

This suspicion becomes certainty when I add the assurance of musicians of this 
city whose names I am empowered to mention in case of necessity, that Herr Malzel 
said to them on leaving Vienna that he was in possession of the work and showed them 
parts of it, which, however, as I have already proved, could be nothing else than muti- 
lated and spurious parts. 

Whether Herr Malzel is capable of doing me such an injury? — is answered by the 
circumstance that he had himself announced as the sole undertaker of my two concerts 
given here in Vienna for the benefit of the soldiers wounded in the war, at which only 
works of mine were performed, in the public prints, without an allusion to my name. 

I therefore call upon the musical artists of London not to suffer such an injury to 
me, their colleague, by a performance arranged by Herrn Malzel of the Battle of Vittoria 
and the Victory Symphony, and to prevent such an imposition on the London public 
in the manner set forth. 

Vienna, July 25, 1814. 



We, the undersigned, certify in the interest of truth and can vouch under oath 
if necessary: that there were several conferences between Herrn Louis van Beethoven 
and the Court Mechanician, Herrn Malzel of this city, at the house of the undersigned. 
Dr. Carl v. Adlersburg, the which had for their subject the musical composition called: 
"The Battle of Vittoria" and the visit to England; at these, Herr Malzel made several 
propositions to Herrn van Beethoven to secure the work aforementioned, or at least the 
right of first performance for himself. But as Herr Malzel did not appear at the last 
meeting arranged for, nothing came of the matter, the propositions made to the former 
not having been accepted by him. 

Vienna, October 20, 1814. Joh. Freiherr v. Pasqualati, 

[L. S.] K. K. priv. Grosshdndler. 

Carl Edler von Adlersburg, 
HoJ- und Gerichts- Advocat 
[L. S.] K. K. Offentlicher Notar. 

The so-called "Deposition" is, says Thayer, in truth, nothing more than an 
ex-parte statement prepared for the use of his lawyer by a very angry man, in whom a 
tendency to suspicion and jealousy had strengthened with advancing years and with 

The Merits of Malzel's Case 275 

be the easiest because I can compose it entirely new. Before my Acade- 
my a few things only were sketched here and there, in the first as well as 
the second act, it was not until a few days ago that I could begin to 
write the matters out. The score of the opera is as frightfully written 
as any that ever I saw, I had to look through note after note (it is probably 
a pilfered one) in short I assure you, dear T. the opera will secure for me 
the crown of martyrdom, if you had not given yourself so much pains 
with it and revised everything so successfully, for which I shall be eter- 
nally grateful to you, I could scarcely be able to force myself (to do the 
work). You have thereby saved some good remainders of a stranded 

the increase of an incurable infirmity. Malzel's contra-statement to his lawyer is lost. 
He had no young disciple planning with zeal to preserve it and give it, with his version of 
the story, to posterity. 

No one, who is ignorant of Schindler's honestly meant, but partisan representa- 
tions, or who, knowing them, can disabuse his mind of any prejudgment thence arising, 
can read Beethoven's statement without misgivings; all the more, if the facts proved 
by Moscheles and Stein — tacitly admitted, though utterly suppressed, in the document 
— are known to him. Nor will he be convinced by all the force of the harsh language 
of denunciation, that Malzel did not act honestly and in good faith, when he called the 
"Victory" his property. 

There is nothing in the first part of the statement that requires comment; though 
in passing it may be observed, that the pathos of "deserted by the whole world here in 
Vienna" would be increased if one could forget the Archduke, the Brentanos, the 
Streichers, Breitkopf and Hartel, Zmeskall, and others. It must be borne in mind (in 
Beethoven's favor) that the paper was written several months after the events of which it 
speaks; that it was drawn up at a time when its writer was excessively busy; that it 
bears all the marks of haste and want of reflection; that it was obviously intended for 
his lawyer's eye alone; that there is evident confusion of memory as to times and 
events; and that — be it repeated — it is the ex-parte statement of an angry man. Take 
the "400 ducats in gold"; here Beethoven's memory must have played him false, cer- 
tainly as to the time, probably as to the substance of what he heard from the "trust- 
worthy persons." Malzel could have had no possible motive to utter so glaring a false- 
hood; but every motive not to do so. A few weeks later, he might and very probably 
did assert, that the damages to him arising from the sacrifice of the "Victory" as a 
piece for his Panharmonicon, from the expense of his prolonged stay in Vienna, from the 
loss of the holiday season in Munich, from the time, study and labor spent in experiments 
on Beethoven's ear-trumpets, and from his exclusion from all share in these profitable 
concerts, which he alone had made possible — that these damages were not less than 400 
ducats. Nor does such an estimate appear to be a gross exaggeration. "I therefore 
had the following printed in the newspaper," continues Beethoven. If the passage 
which follows be what he desired to have printed, the reasons why the editors refused 
are sufficiently obvious; if they had cherished no regard for Malzel and had believed him 
iu the wrong, they must have suppressed such a communication for Beethoven's own sake. 

The character of Malzel — drawn in a few dark lines by his opponent — has no 
bearing on the real point at issue; it may, however, be observed as remarkable, that 
Beethoven alone made the discovery, and this not until — after some years of close inti- 
macy and friendship — he had quarrelled with him. There are not many, who having so 
sagaciously planted and seen the harvest gathered in by another — who, smarting under 
the disappointment, and irritated by the loss of so much time, pains and labor—would 
sit down quietly, exhibit Job's patience, and refrain from all expressions of feeling not 
suited to a lady's boudoir; nor is it to be supposed that Malzel acted this Christian part; 
but then Beethoven was hardly the man to cast the first stone at the sinner. 

The sudden resolution to send the "Wellington's Victory" to the Prince Regent of 
England, was obviously part and parcel of the proceedings against Malzel, the object 
being to defeat there any production of the work by him. Beethoven himself was the 
only loser by it. The prince never said "thank you" for it. 

In the argument against the correctness of Malzel's copy of the work, Beethoven 
is, to say the least, unfortunate. His opponent may have had, from him, only single 
parts (in the second paper it stands "a single part"!); but the circumstances were such 

276 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

If you think that the delay with the opera will be too long, postpone 
it till some future time, I shall go ahead now until everything is ended, 
and just like you have changed and improved it, which I see more and 
more clearly every moment, but it cannot go so fast as if I were compos- 
ing something new — and in 14 days that is impossible— do as you think 
best, but as a friend of mine, there is no want of zeal on my part. 

Your Beethoven. 

The repetitions of the "Gute Nachricht" came to a con- 
clusion with the performance in the Karnthnerthor-Theater on 

that Malzel could have had no difficulty in obtaining temporary use of most if not all 
the parts, and there were plenty of "musical handicraftsmen" amply capable, after so 
many rehearsals and public performances, of producing a copy in the main correct. 

It is painful to one who loves and reveres the memory of Beethoven, to peruse 
the closing passages of this document; it is, fortunately, not necessary to comment upon 
their character. It was not necessary for Beethoven to speak of Malzel's share in the 
composition of the work, in the first of these papers; the opposing lawyer would attend 
to that; but was it just and ingenuous to suppress it entirely in the appeal to the London 
musicians.'' Schindler asserts that this appeal prevented Malzel from producing it. 
It could have had no such effect. The simple truth is, that in those days for a stranger like 
Malzel lo undertake orchestral concerts in London would have been madness. The 
new Philharmonic Society, composed of all the best resident musicians, had hardly 
achieved an assured existence. 

The third paper is testimony to a single fact and is so impartially drawn, so 
skilfully worded, as not to afford a point for or against either of the parties. Schindler 
closes his history of the affair thus: "The legal proceedings in Vienna were without re- 
sult, however, the defendant being far away and his representatives knowing how to 
protract the case unduly, whereby the plaintiff was subjected to considerable expense and 
ever new annoyances. For this reason our master refrained from prosecuting the case 
further, since meanwhile the facts had become widely known and had frightened the 
false friend from making new attempts. The court costs were divided evenly by the 
litigants. Malzel never returned to Vienna, but at a later period appealed in a letter to 
the friend whom he had swindled when he thought that he needed his recommendation 
for the metronome. This letter, dated Paris, April 19, 1818, is here. In it he rep- 
resents to Beethoven that he was at work for him upon a hearing machine for use in 
conducting; he even invites him to accompany him on a journey to England. The 
master expressed his satisfaction with the metronome to the mechanician; but he never 
heard more concerning the machines." 

Now Schindler's own account of the first two occasions when he spoke with Beet- 
hoven, copied into the text, partly with a view to this, shows that he could have no 
personal knowledge of the Malzel affair, except its issue; and an examination of his 
pages proves further, that his account of it is but a paraphrase of Beethoven's state- 
ment. His own words, written in a Conversation Book, demonstrate that the greater 
portion of the above citation is nonsense; for those words inform us that Malzel re- 
turned to Vienna in the autumn of 1817; that, then and there, peace was made between 
the parties, and the old friendship restored; and that thereupon they passed a jovial 
evening together in the "Kamehl," where Schindler himself sang soprano in the "Ta, 
ta, ta," canon to the bass of Malzel! What is the historic value of a narrative so made 
up and ending with such an astounding lapse of memory.' 

Malzel spent his last years mostly in Philadelphia and other American cities. A 
few men of advanced years are still living there, unless recently passed away — (Thayer 
is writing in the eighth decade of the nineteenth century) — who retain an affectionate 
and respectful memory of him as a gentleman and man of culture; they will rejoice in 
this, at the least, partial vindication of their old friend. Candor and justice compel 
the painful admission that Beethoven's course with Malzel is a blot — one of the few — 
upon his character, which no amount of misrepresentation of the facts can wholly 
efface; whoever can convince himself that the composer's conduct was legally and tech- 
nically just and right, must still feel that it was neither noble nor generous. 

Malzel died suddenly on July 21, 1838, on an .\merican brig, while on a voyage 
between the United States and the West Indies. 

Rehearsals for the Revised "Fidelio" 277 

May 3, and the beneficiaries became more and more impatient. 
Hence, Treitschke wrote again to Beethoven, asked him what use 
was to be made of the chorus "Germania," and urged him to 
make haste with the work on "Fidelio." Notwithstanding so 
much was wanting, the rehearsals had begun in the middle of 
April, and the performance was now fixed for the 23rd of May. 
Beethoven's memorandum of his revisal of the opera reads: 
"The opera Fidelio [?] March to 15th of May, newly written and 
improved." May 15th was Sunday, the "Tuesday" of his an- 
swer to Treitschke was therefore the 17 th, and the date, doubtless, 
about the 14th: 

Your satisfaction with the chorus delights me infinitely. I was of 
the opinion that you ought to apply all the works to your 'profit and 
therefore mine also, but if you do not want to do this I should like to have 
you sell it outright for the benefit of the poor. 

Your copyists [illegible] and Wranitzky were here yesterday 

about the matter, I told them, most worthy man, that you were entire 
master in the affair. For this reason I await now your frank opinion — 
your copyist is — an ass! — but he is completely lacking in the well-known 
splendid Eselshaut^ — therefore my copyist has undertaken the work of 
copying, and hy Tuesday little will remain to he done, and my copyist will 
bring everything to the rehearsal. As for the rest the whole matter of 
the opera is the most wearisome thing in the world, and I am dissatisfied 
with most of it — and — there is hardly a piece in it to which in my present 
state of dissatisfaction I ought not to have patched on some saiisfaction. 
That is the great difference between being able to surrender to free 
reflection or enthusiasm. 

Wholly your Beethoven. 

"The final rehearsal," says Treitschke, "was on May 22d, 
but the promised new overture was still in the pen of the creator." 
It was then, on the 20th or 21st, that Beethoven dined with his 
friend Bertolini in the Romischer Kaiser. After dinner he took a 
bill of fare, drew lines on the blank side and began to write. 
"Come, let us go," said Bertolini; "No, wait a little; I have the 
idea for my overture," replied Beethoven, who remained and 
finished his sketches then and there. Treitschke continues: 

The orchestra was called to rehearsal on the morning of the per- 
formance. B. did not come. After waiting a long time we drove to his 
lodgings to bring him, but — he lay in bed, sleeping soundly, beside him 
stood a goblet with wine and a biscuit in it, the sheets of the overture 
were scattered on the bed and floor. A burnt-out candle showed that 
he had worked far into the night. The impossibility of completing the 
overture was plain; for this occasion his overture to "Prometheus" [?] 

^Eselshaut — "Ass's Skin." — A fairy play of that name with music by Hummel was 
performed on March 10, 1814., in the Theater-an-der-Wien. 

278 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

was taken and the announcement that because of obstacles which had 
presented themselves the new overture would have to be dispensed with 
to-day, enabled the numerous audience to guess the sufficient reason. 

Schindler says an overture to "Leonore," Seyfried the overture 
to "The Ruins of Athens," was played on this occasion. The 
"Sammler" in its contemporary notice confirms Seyfried: "The 
overture played at the first performance does not belong to the 
opera and was originally written for the opening of the theatre 
at Pesth." In 1823, Beethoven in conversation happened to 
speak of this substitution and remarked: "The people applauded, 
but I stood ashamed; it did not belong to the rest." In the manu- 
script book of the text prepared for use in the theatre on this 
occasion, one is surprised to see the title begun thus: 

"Leonore, Fidelio 

An Opera in Two Acts, etc." 

The word "Leonore" is crossed out and "Fidelio" written at 
the side in red pencil afterwards inked over. There was then on 
the part of some one — whom? — an intention subsequently aban- 
doned, of thus changing the title. Again, in the list of "proper- 
ties," stands 

a u ■ } Mme. Honig. 
2 chams J ° 

and the same name occurs in the list of the 

Dramatis Person.e 

Herr Saal Don Fernando, minister. 

Herr Vogel Don Pizarro, Governor of a State's prison. 

Herr Radichi Florestan, a prisoner. 

M. Honig Leonore, his wife, under the name of Fidelio. 

Hr. Weinmuller Rokko, jailer. 

Mile. Bondra Marzelline, his daughter. 

Hr. Friihwald Jaquino. 

Prisoners of State, etc., etc. 

Madame Honig was a new soprano, engaged after the "Hof- 
theater-Taschenbuch" for 1814 had been printed, whose name 
appears in that for 1815. Though appointed to the part when 
this text-book was copied, she gave place before the day of per- 
formance to the original Fidelio, Mme. Milder-Hauptmann. 

The opera was capitally prepared (says Treitschke), Beethoven 
conducted, his ardor often rushed him out of time, but Chapelmaster 

Tobias Haslinger Becomes Music Publisher 279 

Umlauf, behind his back, guided everything to success with eye and 
hand, i The applause was great and increased with every representation. 

"Herr v. B.," says the "Sammler," "was stormily called out 
already after the first act, and enthusiastically greeted." The 
opera was first repeated on the 26th, when the new overture in 
E major "was received with tumultuous applause and the com- 
poser again called out twice at this repetition." 

The chorus "Germania," in pianoforte arrangement, was 
published in June "im K. K. Hof theater- Verlag." A character- 
istic note of Beethoven to Treitschke asks for the manuscript for 
the purpose of correcting the proof and introduces to our acquain- 
tance a personage or two, who will often meet us henceforth to the 
end, and therefore merit a short personal paragraph here. 

The "K. K. Priv. Chemische Druckerey," the property of 
Rochus Krasinzky and Sigmund Anton Steiner, passed about 1810 
into the hands of Steiner alone. In that year Tobias Haslinger 
(of Zell in Upper Austria), who had been one of Chapelmaster 
Gloggl's singing-boys at Linz and assistant in his music-shop, came 
to Vienna with the design of establishing himself in business, and 
there soon became acquainted with Steiner. He detailed to him 
his purposes and plans and induced him to withdraw his prints 
and other wares from Grund's bookstore in the Singerstrasse, and 
open a shop of his own in the narrow passage then existing at the 
northeast corner of the Graben, known as the "Paternoster- 
Gassel," employing him (Haslinger) as bookkeeper and manager; 
from which position he soon rose to be partner in the firm, "S. A. 
Steiner and Co." Beethoven conceived an odd and whimsical 
liking for the young man, and in a few years his relations to the 
firm became very much the same as those which formerly existed 
between him and the "Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir." Has- 
linger had learned divers instruments in Linz, had begun the study 
of composition there and continued it in Vienna. His Opus 10, 
"Ideal einer Schlacht," for the pianoforte, had just been published 
— the subject of Homeric laughter to Jupiter-Beethoven and the 

a mist 

well remember that the opera ('Fidelio') was rehearsed and conducted by 

Dr. Sonnleithner's authority is justly so decisive in all matters pertaining to the musical 

annals of Vienna, and even the slightest errors are so very rare in his writings, that if 

one occurs it must be corrected upon unimpeachable authority, to prevent its passing 

into history. Now, in the manuscript text-book above cited, is written below the list 

of properties: "Herr Umlauf, conducts"; and near the end of the manuscript overture to 

"Fidelio" stands in Beethoven's hand: "Indicate to Umlauf where the trombones 

enter." Treitschke is thus so fully confirmed as to leave no doubt that in this instance 

Dr. Sonnleithner's memory played him false. 

280 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

other gods. He made his place of business attractive and it 
became a favorite resort of composers, musicians, singers, writers 
for the theatre, the public press, and the like. In his correspon- 
dence with the firm Beethoven was "Generalissimus"; Steiner 
"Lieutenant-General"; Haslinger "Adjutant" or rather "Adju- 
tanterl" (the diminutive of Adjutant); their assistants were 
"Subalterns"; and the shop, "Office of the Lieutenant-General." 
These titles make their appearance in a note, typical of many, 
written to Treitschke: 

The thoughts and endeavors {DicJden und Trachten) of Hr. v, 
Treitschke are directed to the duty of immediately delivering the manu- 
script to the subaltern of the Lieutenant-General's office, so that the 
engraved page scratched full of errors may immediately be rescratched 
as it ought to be, and, indeed, all the more, as otherwise the thoughts and 
endeavors will be frightfully scratched and beaten. 

Given in Paternoster Lane, at the primitive publishing house of all 
who publish. June 4, 1814. ^ 

One of Beethoven's minor productions (still unpublished) 
was now composed for his friend Bertolini. The occasion was an 
evening festival arranged by the doctor at his own expense on the 
name-day (St. John's day) and in honor of Malfatti. It was a 
little piece for four voices with pianoforte accompaniment to a 
text written by Abbate Bondi: 

Un lieto brindisi 
Tutti a Giovanni, 
Cantiam cosi, cosi. 
Viva longhi anni, etc., etc. 

Invitations were extended not only to Malfatti's relatives and 
personal friends but to a large number of artists of the various 
professions, resident or temporarily in Vienna — Dragonetti among 
the musicians. The scene was Malfatti's villa in Weinhaus. 
There they feasted; the wine flowed; the cantata was sung; Beet- 
hoven, "thoroughly unbuttoned," improvised; fun and frolic 
ruled the hour. "The sport cost me a few hundred florins," 
laughingly said the good doctor fifty years afterwards. 

"Fidelio" was repeated on May 26, June 2d and 4th and on 
Tuesday, June 7th. The theatre was then "closed because of 
preparations for the spectacle to be presented on the return of the 
Emperor." After this the theatre closed again for two days and 
on the 21st was reopened with "Fidelio." A letter to Treitschke 
was written about this time: 

^Beethoven's play on words cannot be reproduced in translation. 

MoscHELEs's Pianoforte Score 281 

^ Dear and worthy Tr. ! What you say about a quarter of the 
receipts is understood, of course! and for a moment only I must moreover 
remain your debtor, but I will not forget that I am— us regards a benefit 
performance for me I should like to have the day set on a week from 
yesterday, that is next Thursday. 

I called on Hrn. Palffy to-day but did not find him in. Do not let 
the opera rest too much ! It is surely injurious. 

The day here proposed for the benefit was not granted. 
The "Wiener Zeitung" of July 1st contained a "Musical Notice" 
which may be quoted as a comment on the first topic of the above 

The undersigned, at the request of the Herren Artaria and Co., 
herewith declares that he has given the score of his opera Fidelio to 
the aforesaid art establishment for publication under his direction in a 
complete pianoforte score, quartets, or arrangements for military band. 
The present musical version is not to be confounded with an earlier one, 
since hardly a musical number has been left unchanged, and more than half 
of the opera was composed anew. Scores in the only authorized copy 
and also the book in manuscript may be had of the reviser of the book, 
Herrn F. Treitschke, R. I. Court Poet. Other unauthorized copies will 
be punished by law. 

Ludwig van Beethoven. 
Vienna, June 28, 1814. 

Moscheles, then just twenty years of age, wrote about this 
time in his diary: "The offer has been made to me to make the 
pianoforte score of the masterpiece 'Fidelio.' What could be 
more desirable.'^" "We now find entries,'* says his widow, "of 
how he carried two, and again two numbers to Beethoven, w^ho 
looked through them; and then, alternately, 'he changed little' 
or 'he changed nothing,' or sometimes 'he simplified it' or 'he 
reinforced it.' One note reads, 'Coming early to Beethoven, he 
was still in bed; this day he was particularly merry, leaped up at 
once, and, as he was, went to the window, which opened on the 
Schottenbastei, to look through the arranged numbers. Natur- 
ally the street boys assembled under the window until he cried out : 
*Damn the youngsters, what do they want.'^' I smilingly pointed 
to his garment. 'Yes, yes, you are right,' said he and hastily 
threw a dressing-gown over his shoulders.^ W^hen we reached 
the last great duet, 'Namenlose Freude,' w^here I had written 
down the text 'Ret-terin des Gat-ten,' he crossed it out and wrote 
'Rett-erin des Gatt-en'; for it was not possible to sing on 't.' 
Under the last number I had written 'fine with God's help.' He 

'He had forgotten, evidently, that he no longer lived in the fourth storey. 

282 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

was not at home when I carried it to him; and when he sent it back 
under mine were the words: 'O man, help yourself.' " 

Before bidding Moscheles farewell for the next half a dozen 
years, let us look at a few sentences from the preface to the 
English translation of Schindler's book, partly for the information 
they impart and partly to prevent a mistake or two from passing 
into history on his authority. He thus writes: 

In the year 1809 1 my studies with my master, Weber (Dionysius), 
closed; and being then also fatherless, I chose Vienna for my residence to 
work out my future musical career. Above all, I longed to see and be- 
come acquainted with that man, who had exercised so powerful an in- 
fluence over my whole being; whom though I scarcely understood, I 
blindly worshipped. I learnt that Beethoven was most difficult of 
access and would admit no pupil but Hies; and for a long time my anxiety 
to see him remained ungratified. In the year 1810, however, the longed- 
for opportunity presented itself. I happened to be one morning in the 
music-shop of Domenico Artaria, who had just been publishing some of 
my early attempts at composition, when a man entered with short and 
hasty steps, and, gliding through the circle of ladies and professors 
assembled on business, or talking over musical matters, without looking 
up, as though he wished to pass unnoticed, made his way direct for 
Artaria's private office at the bottom of the shop. Presently Artaria 
called me in and said: "This is Beethoven!" and to the composer, "This 
is the youth of whom I have just spoken to you." Beethoven gave me 
a friendly nod and said he had just heard a favorable account of me. To 
some modest and humble expressions, which I stammered forth, he made 
no reply and seemed to wish to break off the conversation. 2. . . J 
never missed the Schuppanzigh Quartets, at which he was often present, 
or the delightful concerts at the Augarten, where he conducted his own 
Symphonies.^ I also heard him play several times, which, however, he 
did but rarely, either in public or in private. The productions which 
made the most lasting impression upon me, were his Fantasia with 
orchestral accompaniments and chorus and his Concerto in C minor. I 
also used to meet him at the lodgings of Zmeskall and Zizius, two of his 
friends, through whose musical meetings Beethov«en's works first made 
their way to public attention [.'']: but, in place of better acquaintance 
with the great man, I had mostly to content myself on his part with a 
distant salute. 

It was in the year 1814, when Artaria undertook to publish a piano- 
forte arrangement of Beethoven's "Fidelio," that he asked the composer 
whether I might be permitted to make it: Beethoven assented upon 
condition that he should see my arrangement of each of the pieces, before 
it was given into the engraver's hands. Nothing could be more welcome 
to me, since I looked upon this as the long wished-for opportunity to 
approach nearer to the great man and to profit by his remarks and 

'It should be 1808. 

'Probably on account of his deafness; for Moscheles adds: "I had seen Artaria 
speaking close to his car." 

'Can there be any doubt now that Beethoven took Bcttina to one of the rehearsals? 

Publishers Steal the Pianoforte Score 283 

corrections. During my frequent visits, the number of which I tried to 
multiply by all possible excuses, he treated me with the kindest indul- 
gence. Although his increasing deafness was a considerable hindrance 
to our conversation, yet he gave me many instructive hints, and even 
played to me such parts as he wished to have arranged in a particular 
manner for the pianoforte. I thought it, however, my duty not to put 
his kindness to the test by robbing him of his valuable time by any 
subsequent visits; but I often saw him at Malzel's, where he used to 
discuss the different plans and models of a Metronome (the Chronom- 
eter), which the latter was going to manufacture, and to talk over the 
"Battle of Vittoria," which he wrote at Malzel's suggestion. Although 
I knew Mr. Schindler, and was aware that he was much with Beethoven 
at that time [?], I did not avail myself of my acquaintance with him for 
the purpose of intruding myself upon the composer. 

As to the "Fidelio," Moscheles told the writer (February 
22, 1856) that he was selected to arrange it because Beethoven 
was on bad terms with Hummel; and that to hasten the work. 
Hummel did arrange one of the finales; but when Beethoven re- 
ceived it and looked it through, he tore it to pieces without re- 
mark, or explaining why he did so. Two errors in these last 
sentences will at once strike the reader — that Schindler was then 
much with Beethoven, and that Beethoven was on bad terms 
with Hummel. The explanation is easy. Moscheles had trans- 
lated Schindler's book, and unconsciously had adopted certain 
ideas from it, which in course of time had taken the form of memo- 
ries. This is a common experience with us all. The true reason 
why Beethoven rejected Hummel as the arranger of "Fidelio" is 
obvious: Hummel was a man of sufficient talent and genius to 
have a style of his own — and one (as is well known) not much to 
Beethoven's taste; "Fidelio" arranged by him would necessarily 
exhibit more or less of this style; moreover, Beethoven could not 
feel the same freedom in discarding, correcting, making suggestions 
if the work were done by him, as when performed by a young man 
like Moscheles. 

So the score was not now published — a mistake, as the event 
proved, and as Beethoven himself confessed in the note to 
Treitschke below. "In accordance with his wish," says Treitschke, 
in concluding the relation from which so much has been cited, ^ 
"I offered our work to foreign theatres; several ordered it, other* 
declined because they already had the opera by Paer. Still 
others preferred to get it in a cheaper way by hiring cunning 
copyists who, as is still the custom, stole the text and music and 
sacrificed them for a few florins' profit. It was of little use to us 

^In August Schmidt's "Musikalisches Taschenbuch, Orpheus," for 1841. 

284 The Life of Ludwig vax Beethovex 

that others translated 'Fidelio' into several languages and made 
large sums by it. The composer received scarcely more than a 
handsome laurel-wreath, and I a little leaf, and the sincere affec- 
tion of the Immortal." 

Meantime the season had far advanced, the summer heats 
were approaching, the departure of the nobility and the wealthy 
for their country-seats was near, and Beethoven thought, perhaps 
justly, that new attractions must be added to "Fidelio" and the 
public journals moved to say an appropriate word, to secure 
him a full house at his benefit, so long deferred. Doubtless 
with this last object in view, he now gave the "Friedensblatter" 
the song "An die Geliebte" (text by Stoll), which was engraved 
as a supplement to the number for July 12, and a notice 
closing with 

A Word to His Admirers. 

How often in your chagrin, that his depth was not sufficiently 
appreciated, have you said that van Beethoven composes only for pos- 
terity! You have, no doubt, been convinced of your error since if not 
before the general enthusiasm aroused by his immortal opera "Fidelio"; 
and also that the present finds kindred souls and sympathetic hearts for 
that which is great and beautiful without withholding its just privileges 
from the future. 

This was certainly to the purpose. The earliest hint as to 
what the new attractions of the opera were to be is found in a 
note to Treitschke: 

For heaven's sake, dear friend! It seems that you have no instinct 
for money-making! See to it that "Fidelio" is not given before my bene- 
fit, this was the arrangement with Schreyvogel — since Saturday when 
you last saw me at the theatre, I have been confined to my bed and room, 
and not until yesterday did I feel a trace of improvement. I might 
have visited you to-day did I not know that poets Wke faiaken observe 
Sunday! We must talk about sending out the opera so that you may 
receive your quarter and that it is not sent out in stolen copies all over 
the world. I know nothing of business but think that if we were to sell 
the score to a publisher here and it were to be printed, the result would be 
better for you and me. If I understand you correctly I ought to have the 
song by this time — please, dear friend, hurry it up I Are you angry .'^ 
Have I offended you? If so, it was done inadvertently, and therefore 
forgive an ignoramus and musician. Farewell, let me know something 

Milder has had her aria for a fortnight, I shall learn to-day or 
to-morrow whether she knows it. It will not take her long.^ 

'Judging from the internal evidence this letter is of date, July 10. On Saturday, 
July 2, "Coriolan" was given, and Beethoven may well have been present. The note 
was written on a Sunday. July 10 was a Sunday. 

The Great Air in "Fidelio" 285 

Beethoven's benefit performance of "Fidelio" took place on 
Monday evening, July 18, 1814. The song so impatiently 
awaited could have been no other than Rocco's "gold aria" which 
had been sung only in the two performances of 1805. Beethoven, 
desiring now to give Weinmiiller a solo, restored it to the score. 
Jahn, in his edition of "Leonore," gives two texts — the original 
by Sonnleithner and one which he conjectures may have been 
written by Breuning. From them Treitschke now prepared a 
text, as we have it, by changing somewhat and improving Sonn- 
leithner's first stanza and joining to it the second stanza of the 
other, unchanged except by the omission of its close. 

As to the new piece for Milder, Treitschke says explicitly it 
was "a grand aria for Leonore^ but as it checked the rapid move- 
ment of the rest it was again omitted." In the advertisement of 
his benefit Beethoven says only: "For this performance .... two 
new pieces have been added." The notice in the "Friedensblatter" 
next day is somewhat more explicit: " 'Fidelio' will be given with 
two entirely new arias to be sung by Mme. Milder and Hrn. 
Weinmiiller, for the benefit of the composer"; and from the 
"Sammler" we learn that at the performance the new air sung by 
Madame Milder-Hauptmann "was very effective and the ex- 
cellent performance seemed to labor under peculiarly great 
difficulties." What is known from printed sources concerning 
this air is this: it was in E-flat major with four horns ohhligati;^ 
the text was "Komm' Hoffnung, etc."; it was not the aria already 
sung by the Milder six times this season; it was one which the 
composer is not certain that she can sing after fourteen days' 
study; it was not the one which Moscheles had arranged for the 
new edition of the opera. 

Now we read in the "Fidelio" sketchbook about the time when 
Beethoven wrote to Treitschke about "sending out the opera" 
(p. 107): "Hamburg, 15 ducats in gold; Gratz, 12 fl.; Frankfort, 
15 ducats in gold; Stuttgart, 12 ducats in gold; Carlsruhe, 
12 ducats in gold; Darmstadt, 12 ducats in gold" — evidently the 
price of the opera; and on the next page, "Abscheulicher, wo 
eilst du hin!" i.e., sketches for the recitative; but sketches 
for the aria are not known. Are not our informants in error.^ 
Was not the new air after all the one which Moscheles arranged 
and which is still sung? And if not, what has become of it.^' 

'Seyfried had long been accustomed to write for four horns. Speaking of his own 
compositions in 1806, he says: "Moreover I wrote ... for my excellent horn-players 
several diveriimenti for four obbligati French horns." 

^Dr. Riemann opines that the confusion of opinion concerning the air sprang from 
the erroneous statement of the reporter of the "AUg. Mus. Zeitung" that the new air of 

286 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Shortly before the performance on July 14, 1814, Beethoven 
wrote a letter to Archduke Rudolph in which he said : 

The management of the theatre is so honest that in spite of a prom- 
ise, it has already performed my opera "Fidelio" without thinking of 
my benefit. This amiable honesty it would have practised again had 
I not been on guard like a former French Danube watchman. Finally 
after considerable exertion on my part it has been arranged that my 
benefit of "Fidelio" shall take place on Monday, July 18. This benefit 
is rather an exception ^ at this time of the year, but a benefit for the 
author may become a little festival if the work has had at least a modi- 
cum of success. To this festival the master humbly invites his exalted 
pupil, and hopes — yes I hope that your Imperial Highness will graciously 
accept and illumine the occasion with your presence. It would be nice 
if Y. I. H. would try to persuade the other Imperial Highnesses to attend 
this representation of my opera. I shall observe here all that respectful 
homage demands. Because of Vogel's illness I was unable to gratify my 
desire to give the role of Pizarro to Forti, for which his voice is better 
adapted — but because of this there are daily rehearsals, which will 
benefit the performance, but make it impossible to wait upon Y. I. H. in 
Baden before the benefit. 

Next day, Friday the 15th, appeared, over his own signature, 
the advertisement of "Beethoven's Benefit" on Monday, the 
18th. "Boxes and reserved seats may be ordered Saturday and 
Sunday in the lodgings of the undersigned on the Molkerbastei, 
in the Baron Pasqualati house. No. 94, in the first storey." 
Imagine his comical consternation when the "Wiener Zeitung" 
came to hand and he read the "Pasqualatischen" instead of the 
"Bartenstein'schen" house! But the number was correct and 
that would save his friends the needless ascent of four flights to 
his old lodging. The contemporary reports of the performance 
are numerous and all very eulogistic. Forti, as Pizarro, was 
"entirely satisfactory"; the "gold aria," although well sung by 
Weinmiiller, "did not make a great effect"; "beautiful and of 
large artistic value was the aria in E-flat major with four [!] 
obbligato French horns, but the reviewer is of the opinion that it 
retards the rapid progress of the first act. The house was very 
full; the applause extraordinary; the enthusiasm for the composer, 
who has now become a favorite of the public, manifested itself in 
calls before the curtain after every act." All free tickets were 

the benefit performance was accompanied by four horns; and that the error was pardon- 
able, inasmuch as the three horns actually used are supplemented by a fourth obbligato 
part for the bassoon. Nottebohm ("Zweite Beethoveniana," pp. 30!2-30G), is of the 
opinion that Beethoven did not compose the scena anew for the benefit performance of 
1814. Hut what shall we say to Beethoven's announcement: "For this performance 
two new pieces have been added"? 

'Another untranslatable play on words: "Diese Einnahme ist wohl mehr eine 
Ausnahme," etc. 

The Latronxe-Hofel Portrait 287 

invalid; the pecuniary results must therefore have been in a 
high degree satisfactory. 

Another consequence of Beethoven's sudden popularity, was 
the publication of a new engraving of him by Artaria, the crayon 
drawing for which was executed by Latronne, a French artist 
then in Vienna. Blasius Hofel, a young man of 22 years, was 
employed to engrave it. He told the writer, ^ how very desirous 
he was of producing a good likeness — a matter of great importance 
to the young artist — but that Latronne's drawing was not a good 
one, probably for want of a sufficient number of sittings. Hofel 
often saw Beethoven at Artaria's and, when his work was well 
advanced, asked him for a sitting or two. The request was 
readily granted. At the time set, the engraver appeared with 
his plate. Beethoven seated himself in position and for perhaps 
five minutes remained reasonably quiet; then suddenly springing 
up went to the pianoforte and began to extemporize, to Hofel's 
great annoyance. The servant relieved his embarrassment by 
assuring him that he could now seat himself near the instrument 
and work at his leisure, for his master had quite forgotten him 
and no longer knew that anyone was in the room. This Hofel 
did; wrought so long as he wished, and then departed with not the 
slightest notice from Beethoven. The result was so satisfactory, 
that only two sittings of less than one hour each were needed. 
It is well known that Hofel's is the best of all the engravings made 
of Beethoven. In 1851, Alois Fuchs showed to the writer his 
great collection, and when he came to this, exclaimed with strong 
emphasis: "Thus I learned to know him!" 

Hofel in course of the conversation unconsciously corroborated 
the statements of Madame Streicher, as reported by Schindler, in 
regard to Beethoven's wretched condition in 1812-13. The effect 
upon him of his pecuniary embarrassments, his various disappoint- 
ments, and of a mind ill at ease, was very plainly to be seen in his 
personal habits and appearance. He was at that time much ac- 
customed to dine at an inn where Hofel often saw him in a dis- 
tant corner, at a table, which though large was avoided by the 
other guests owing to the very uninviting habits into which he 
had fallen; the particulars may be omitted. Not infrequently 
he departed without paying his bill, or with the remark that his 
brother would settle it; which Karl did. He had grown so 
negligent of his person as to appear there sometimes positively 
"schmutzig" (dirty). Now, however, under the kind care of the 
Streichers, cheered and inspirited by the glory and emolument of 

'June 23rd, 1860, in Salzburg. 

288 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

the past eight months, he became his better self again; and — 
though now and to the end, so careless and indifferent to mere 
externals as occasionally to offend the sensitiveness of very nice 
and fastidious people — he again, as before quoted from Czerny, 
"paid attention to his appearance." From a note of apology to 
the Archduke, written while busy with the "arrangements for my 
opera," we learn that Beethoven contemplated another visit to 
Teplitz; but the public announcement of a royal congress to 
meet in Vienna, August 1, put an end to that project, and Baden 
again became his summer retreat, for recreation but not for rest. 
Sketches for the "Elegiac Song" ("Sanft wie du lebtest") are found 
among the studies for the new "Fidelio," and this short work w\as 
probably now completed in season to be copied and delivered to 
his friend Pasqualati on or before the 23rd of August, that day 
being the third anniversary of the death of his "transfigured 
wife," in honor of whose memory it was composed. The Sonata 
in E minor. Op. 90, bears date x\ugust 16. Then comes a 
cantata — as it is named in the "Fidelio" sketchbook, where some 
hints for it are noted ; in fact, it is but a chorus with orchestra — 
a piece of flattery intended for the royal personages of the coming 


Ihr weisen Griinder gliicklicher Staaten, 

Neigt euer Ohr dem Jubelsang, 

Es ist die Nachwelt, die eui-e Thaten 

Mit Segen preist Aeonen lang. 

Vom Sohn auf Enkel im Herzen hegen 

Wir eures Ruhmes Heiligthum, 

Stets fanden in der Nachwelt Segen 

Begllickende Fiirsten ihren Ruhm. 

This is the text; but as the congress was deferred, there was no 
haste, and the chorus was not finished until September 3rd. 

Meanwhile the controversy with the Kinsky heirs had entered 
upon a new phase. Dr. Johann Kanka, a lawyer in Prague, 
in a communication to the author,^ wrote: 

The information (concerning Beethoven) which I am able to give, 
refers for the greater part to business relations out of which, because of 
my personal and official position, grew the friendly intercourse with Beet- 
hoven which was cultivated for several years. 

Then, after a rather protracted history of the annuity and 
the effect produced upon it by the Finanz-Patent of 1811, "whereby 
Beethoven's means of subsistence were materially reduced and 
his longer residence in Vienna rendered impossible," he continues: 

'Received July 4, 1859. The venerable man was then eighty-seven years of age. 

A Compromise with Prince Kinsky's Heirs 289 

In this fateful crisis, I, as the judicially appointed curator of the 
estate of Prince Kinsky and later of that of Prince Lobkowitz, was 
enabled to bring about a more temperate presentation of the case 
already presented to the authorities charged with testamentary and 
guardianship affairs, touching the contractual annuities to be paid to 
Beethoven — a presentation which reconciled a severely literal inter- 
pretation of the law -uath the righteous demands of equity, and by 
paving the way for mutual concessions to secure a satisfactory judicial 
decision which Beethoven, actuated throughout his life by the noblest of 
feelings, bore in faithful remembrance and described to his few trusted 
friends as the firm cement of the friendly relations which we bore 
towards each other, and the reason of his continued residence in 

Dr. Kanka closed with the promise to grant for use in this 
work, such letters of Beethoven — "precious relics" — as remained 
in his possession — a promise fulfilled a few days afterwards. 
Thus, in half a dozen lines — indeed, by the single statement that 
he was the curator of the Kinsky estate and as such effected a 
compromise between the parties — the venerable doctor exposes 
the mistakes and destroys the hypotheses of all who treated the 
topic at length from Schindler onward. Beethoven's lawyer in 
Vienna was Dr. Adlersburg, and his "legal friend" in Prague, Dr. 
Wolf, who must have already become heartily weary of his 
client, for Beethoven himself writes in a letter to the court at 

My continual urging of him to take an interest in the matter, also, 
I must confess, the reproaches made against him that he had not pursued 
the matter zealously enough because the steps which he took against the 
guardians remained without fruit, may have misled him into beginning 
the litigation. 

That, as is here insinuated, Wolf instituted the suit against 
the Kinsky heirs without explicit instructions from his client, is 
doubtful; but at all events that proceeding brought matters to a 
crisis, and led to an interview in the course of the summer between 
Beethoven and the Verlassenschafts-Curator, with the object, on 
the part of the latter, of effecting a settlement of the affair by 
compromise. Kanka, a fine musician and composer, an old friend, 
or rather acquaintance of Beethoven's, and of the same age, was 
a man also whose legal talents and knowledge must have no 
less deeply than favorably impressed him. The letters written 
during the next six months to his new friend, show us how Beet- 
hoven first relinquished the notion of a legal claim to the 1800 
florins in notes of redemption, then abandoned the claim in equity, 
and at length came into a rational view of the matter, saw the 

290 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

necessity of compromising, and sought no more than to effect this 
on the best terms possible.^ 

There is a letter to Thomson dated September 15, and another 
in October, the day not specified. Both are in Italian and only 
signed by Beethoven. In the first, the demand of "4 zecchini" 
per melody is renewed and "mille ringraziamente" sent to the 
author of a sonnet printed in the "Edinburgh Magazine" which 
Thomson had enclosed to the composer. The occasion of the 
poem was the performance of selections of Beethoven's music at 
a rural festival of artists in England. The hour was advanced 
to near midnight, when Grahame, the Scotch poet, who was 
present, inspired by the music and by the beauty of the bright 
moonlit night, inprovised the lines: 

Hark! from Germania's shore how wildly floats 

That strain divine upon the dying gale; 
O'er Ocean's bosom swell the liquid notes 

And soar in triumph to yon crescent pale. 
It changes now! and tells of woe and death; 

Of deep romantic horror murmurs low; 

Now rises with majestic, solemn flow, 
While shadowy silence soothes the wind's rude breath. 
What magic hand awakes the noon of night 

With such unearthly melody, that bears 

The raptured soul beyond the tuneful spheres 
To stray amid high visions of delight? 
Enchanter Beethoven! I feel thy power 
Thrill every trembling nerve in this lone witching hour. 

Beethoven's thanks came too late; Grahame was dead. The 
letter of October again presses the demand of "4 zecchini," but is 
for the most part devoted to urging Thomson to purchase for 
publication the "^Vellington's Victory" — about as preposterous 
as if Professor Max Mliller had solicited the editor of a popular 
magazine, to which he had contributed articles, to undertake a 
Sanskrit dictionary. Our narrative brings us to a letter 

To Count Moritz von Lichnowsky. 

Baden, Sept. 21, 1841 [sic]. 
Worthy honored Count 

and friend. 
I did not receive your letter, unfortunately until yesterday — cordial 
thanks for your thought of me and all manner of lovely messages to the 

'The letters written by Beethoven to Dr. Kanka, Archduke Rudolph and Baron 
Pasqualati, relative to this subject, are printed in full in the German editions of this 
biography: Appendix VIII to Vol. Ill in the first edition, Appendix III to Vol. Ill in the 
second. As they contribute nothing to the facts in the controversy with Prince Kinsky's 
heirs, the English Editor felt himself justified in omitting them here with this direction to 
the curious student where they may be found. 

Prince Lichnowsky's Roiniance 291 

worthy Princess Christine — yesterday, I made a lonely promenade with a 
friend in the Briihl and you up came particularly in our friendly con- 
versation and behold on arriving here yesterday I find your good letter — 
I see that you still persist in overwhelming me with kindnesses, as I do 
not want you to think that a step which I have taken was prompted by 
a new interest or anything of that kind, I tell you that a new sonata of 
mine will soon appear which I have dedicated to you. I wanted to sur- 
prise you, for the dedication was set apart for you a long time ago, but 
your letter of yesterday leads me to make the disclosure, no new cause 
was needed for the public expression of my feelings for your friendship and 
kindness — but you would give me pain with anything resembling a gift, 
since you would totally misapprehend my purpose, and everything of 
the kind I could only refuse. 

I kiss the hands of the Princess for her thought of me and her 
kindness, I have never forgotten how much I owe you all, even if an unfortu- 
nate circumstance brought about conditions under which I could not show 
it as I should have liked to do — what you tell me about Lord Castleregt, 
the matter is already well introduced, if I were to have an opinion on the 
subject, it would be that I think that Lord Castleregt ought not to write 
about the work on Wellington until the Lord has heard it here — I am 
soon coming to the city where we will talk over everything concerning 
a grand concert — nothing can be done with the court, I have made an offer 




but, but, but, but, but, but 
and yet Sl-len • ti - uml 

Farewell, my honored friend and think of me always as worthy of 
your kindness — 



I kiss the hands of the honored Princess C. a thousand times. 

Beethoven's "Lord Castleregt" was Viscount Castlereagh, 
now in Vienna as British plenipotentiary in the coming congress; 
and his object was to obtain through him some recognition from 
the Prince Regent for the dedication of the "Wellington's Victory." 
Nothing came of it. 

The Sonata was the Op. 90, dated "August 16, 1814"— the 
subject of one of Schindler's authentic and pleasantest anecdotes. 
Lichnowsky, after the decease of his first wife, fell in love with 
Fraulein Stummer, a singer just now transferred from the Theater- 
an-der-Wien to the Hoftheater, whose talents and unblemished 
character rendered her worthy of the Count's affection. Differ- 
ence in social position long prevented their marriage, nor was it 
solemnized until some time after the death of Prince Karl. 

292 The Life of Ludavig van Beethoven 

When Count Lichnowsky received a copy of the Sonata dedicated 
to him (writes Schindler), it seemed to him that his friend Beethoven had 
intended to give expression to a definite idea in the two movements of 
which it is composed. He made no delay in asking Beethoven about it. 
As the latter was never secretive about anything, least of all when a 
witticism or joke was in question, he could not hold back his explanation 
long. Amidst peals of laughter he told the Count that he had tried to 
set his courtship of his wife to music, observing also, that if the Count 
wanted a superscription he might write over the first movement "Struggle 
between head and heart" and over the second "Conversation with the 
loved one." Obvious reasons made Beethoven refrain from publishing 
the Sonata with these superscriptions. . . . This circumstance shows 
again that Beethoven frequently put a poetic idea at the bottom of his 
works, if he did not always do so. 

The only new work suitable for a grand concert which Beet- 
hoven now had, was the chorus; "Ihr weisen Griinder." Over 
the title of the manuscript is written in pencil by him: "About 
this time the Overture in C." This work he had now in hand; 
also a vocal composition of considerable length. The author of 
the text, whoever he was, must have profoundly studied and 
heartily adopted the principles of composition as set forth by 
Martinus Scriblerus in his "Treatise on Bathos, or the Art of 
Sinking in Poetry": for anything more stilted in style, yet more 
absurdly prosaic, with nowhere a spark of poetic fire to illuminate 
its dreary pages, is hardly conceivable. It begins something like 

Nach Frankreichs unheilvollem Sturz, die Gottverlassene 
Erhob sich auf den blutigen Triimmern, ein diister Schreckensbild, 
Gigantisch hoch empor, die Geieraugen weithin nach Raube drehend, 
Mit starker Hand schwingend die eherne Sklavengeissel ! 
,,\Yer ist mir gleich.^" erscholl mit Macht des Frevlers Stimme, 
,,Mein fester Sitz ist Frankreich; Italien meiner Stirne Schmuck; 
Meiner Fiisse Schemel Hispania; nun, Deutschland, du bist mein; 
Vertilgen will ich Albion vom Grund: zum Knecht soil mir Moskwa 

Und furchtbar zog der Riese aus, 
Brach ein ins deutsche Kaiserhaus, 
Griff frevelnd nach Hispaniens Land, 
Verheerte schwer der Moskwa Strand, 
Und an der Po und an der Spree 
Erschall der Volker lautes Weh. 

(And so forth, ad nauseam.) 

Neither the Overture nor the Cantata was finished, when the 
arrival at Vienna of the King of Wurtemberg on the 22d of Sep- 
tember, of the King of Denmark on the 23d and the announcement 
of the coming of the Russian Emperor with the King of Prussia 

Alois Weissenbach's Enthusiasm 293 

on Sunday the 25th, brought Beethoven back to the city. Owing 
to the failure of Lobkowitz, the Court theatres had passed under 
the management of Palffy. If there be any truth whatever in his 
alleged hostility to Beethoven, it is not a little remarkable that 
the first grand opera performed in the presence of the monarchs — 
Monday the 26th — was "Fidelio." One of the audience on that 
evening, in a published account of his "Journey to the Congress," 
records: "To-day I went to the Court Theatre and was carried 
to heaven — the opera 'Fidelio' by L. v. Beethoven was given." 
Then follow some fifteen pages of enthusiastic eulogy. That 
auditor was Alois Weissenbach, R. I. Councillor, Professor of 
Surgery and Head Surgeon of the St. John's Hospital in Salzburg, 
where after sixteen years' service in the Austrian armies he had set- 
tled, devoting his leisure to poetry and the drama. His tragedy 
"Der Brautkranz" in iambics, five acts, was produced January 
14, 1809, at the Karnthnerthor- Theater. Whether his "Barmeci- 
den" and "Glaube und Liebe" were also brought out in Vienna 
we have no means of deciding. At all events, he was a man of 
high reputation. Of him Franz GraefTer writes: 

That Weissenbach was a passionate admirer of Beethoven's is a 
matter of course; their natures were akin, even physically, for the Tyrolean 
was just as hard of hearing. Both were manly, straightforward, liberal, 
upright figures. Weissenbach comes to Vienna in 1814, and "Fidelio" is 
performed. An indescribable longing seizes him to make the personal 
acquaintance of the author of the immortal work. When he reaches his 
lodgings a card of invitation from Beethoven lies on his table. Beethoven 
had been there himself. What a mysterious, magnetic play of congenial 
spirits! The next day he received kiss and handgrasp. Afterward it 
was possible often to sit at table with them in the rooms on the ground 
floor of the Roman Emperor. But it was pitiful to hear them shout at 
each other. It was therefore not possible thoroughly to enjoy them. 
Strangely enough in a little room, as also in the inn Zur Rose in the 
WoUzeile, Weissenbach heard much better, and conversed more freely 
and animatedly. Otherwise the most prolific, amiable, lively of social 
companions. A blooming man, aging, always neatly and elegantly clad. 
How learned he was as a physician will not be forgotten. 

Weissenbach himself writes: 

Completely filled with the gloriousness of the creative genius of this 
music, I went from the theatre home with the firm resolve not to leave 
Vienna without having made the personal acquaintance of so admirable 
a man; and strangely enough! when I reached my lodgings I found 
Beethoven's visiting card upon my table with a cordial invitation to 
breakfast with him in the morning. And I drank coffee with him and 
received his handgrasp and kiss. Yes, mine is the proud privilege of 
proclaiming publicly, Beethoven honored me with the confidence of his 
heart. I do not know if these pages will ever fall into his hands: if he 

294 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

learns that they mention his name either in praise or blame he will indeed 
(I know him and know his strong self-reliance) not read them at all; 
herein, too, he maintains his independence, he whose cradle and throne 
the Lord established away from this earth. . , . Beethoven's body has 
a strength and rudeness which is seldom the blessing of chosen spirits. 
He is pictured in his countenance. If Gall, the phrenologist, has cor- 
rectly located the mind, the musical genius of Beethoven is manifest in 
the formation of his head. The sturdiness of his body, however, is in his 
flesh and bones only; his nervous system is irritable in the highest degree 
and even unhealthy. How it has often pained me to observe that in this 
organism the harmony of the mind was so easily put out of tune. He 
once went through a terrible typhus and from that time dates the decay 
of his nervous system and probably also his melancholy loss of hearing. 
Often and long have I spoken with him on this subject; it is a greater 
misfortune for him than for the world. It is significant that before that 
illness his hearing was unsurpassably keen and delicate, and that even now 
he is painfully sensible to discordant sounds; perhaps because he is him- 
self euphony. . . . His character is in complete agreement with the 
glory of his talent. Never in my life have I met a more childlike nature 
paired with so powerful and defiant a will; if heaven had bestowed nothing 
upon him but his heart, this alone would have made him one of those in 
whose presence many would be obliged to stand up and do obeisance. 
Most intimately does that heart cling to everything good and beautiful 
by a natural impulse which surpasses all education by far. . . . There is 
nothing in the world, no earthly greatness, nor wealth, nor rank, nor 
state can bribe it; here I could speak of instances in which I was a 

Remarks follow upon Beethoven's ignorance of the value of 
money, of the absolute purity of his morals (which, unfortunately, 
is not true) and of the irregularity of his life. "This irregularity 
reaches its climax in his periods of productiveness. Then he is 
frequently absent days at a time without any one knowing whither 
he is gone." [.'*] 

We know no reason to suppose that Beethoven received 
Weissenbach's poem before the interview with him; but, on the 
contrary, think the citations above preclude such a hypothesis. 
Moreover, the composer's anxiety to have an interview at the 
earliest possible moment arose far more probably from a hint or 
the hope, that he might obtain a text better than the one in 
hand, than from any desire to discuss one already received. 
What is certain is this: Beethoven did obtain from Weissenbach 
the poem "Der glorreiche Augenblick," and cast the other aside 
unfinished — as it remains to this day. 

First, Beethoven had to complete his overture, the supposed 
scope and design of which may occupy us a moment. 

Scott said, that when he wrote "Waverly, or 'Tis Sixty Years 
Since," it had already become impossible for the people of England 

Europe After the Vienna Congress 295 

and Scotland, in their greatly changed and improved condition, 
to form any correct conception of the state of public feeling in those 
kingdoms in 1745, when the Pretender made that last effort against 
the House of Brunswick which is the subject of "Waverly," and 
the defeat of which is commemorated by Handel in "Judas 
Maccabaeus." It is equally difficult for us to conceive adequately 
the sensations caused by the downfall of Napoleon at the time of 
which we are writing. 

When monarchs play chess witii armies, "check to the king'* 
means the shock of contending foes and all the horrors of war; but 
in perusing the history of Bonaparte's campaigns, we become so 
interested in the "game" as to forget the attendant ruin, devas- 
tation and destruction, the blood, carnage and death, that made 
all central Europe for twenty long years one vast charnel-house. 
But only in proportion as the imagination is able to form a vivid 
picture of the horrors of those years, can it conceive that inex- 
pressible sense of relief, the universal joy and jubilee, w^hich out- 
side of France pervaded all classes of society, from prince to peas- 
ant, at the fall of the usurper, conqueror and tyrant. And this 
not more because of that event, than because of the all-prevailing 
trust, that men's rights, political and religious — now doubly theirs 
by nature and by purchase at such infinite cost — would be gladly 
and gratefully accorded to them. For sovereign and subject had 
shared danger and suffering and every evil fortune together, and 
been brought into new and kindlier relations by common calam- 
ities; thus the sentiment of loyalty — the affectionate veneration of 
subject for sovereign — had been developed to a degree wholly 
unprecedented. Nothing presaged or foreboded the near advent 
and thirty years' sway of Metternichism. No one dreamed, that 
within six years the "rulers" at this moment "of happy states" 
would solemnly declare, "all popular and constitutional rights to 
be holden no otherwise than as grants and indulgences from 
crowned heads'';^ that they would snuff treason in every effort of 
the people to hold princes to their pledged words; and that their 
vigilance would effectually prevent the access of any Leonore to 
the Pellicos, Liebers and Reuters languishing for such treasons in 
their state prisons. At that time all this was hidden in the future; 
the very intoxication of joy and extravagant loyalty then ruled the 
hour. It was, as we believe, to give these sentiments musical 
expression, that Beethoven now took up and wrought out certain 
themes and motives, noted by him five years before in connection 
with the memorandum: "Freude schbner Gotterfunken Tochter — 

iSee the Laybach Circular of May, 1821. 

296 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Ouverture ausarbeiten."^ The poetic idea of the work was not 
essentially changed — the joy of liberated Europe simply taking 
the place of the joy of Schiller's poem. But the composer's 
particular purpose was to produce it as the graceful homage of a 
loyal subject on the Emperor's name-day. How else can the 
autograph inscription upon the original manuscript be understood: 
"Overture by L. v. Beethoven, on the first of Wine-month, 1814 — 
Evening to the name-day of our Emperor"? In the arts, as in 
literature, there is no necessary connection between that which 
gives rise to the ideas of a work, and the occasion of its composition; 
the occasion of this overture was clearly the name-day festival of 
Emperor Franz; why then may it not in the future, as in the past, 
be known as the "Namensfeier" Overture.'^ 

Assuming the "first of the Wine-month" (October 1) to date 
the completion of the work, there remained three days for copy- 
ing and rehearsal. The theatre had been closed on the 29th and 
30th of September, to prepare for a grand festival production of 
Spontini's "La Vestale" on Saturday evening, October 1st; but 
for the evening of the name-day, Tuesday the 4th, "Fidelio" 
(its 15th performance) was selected. It was obviously the inten- 
tion of Beethoven to do homage to Emperor Franz, by producing 
his new overture as a prelude on this occasion. What, then, 
prevented? Seyfried answers this question. He writes: "For 
this year's celebration of the name-day of His Majesty, the Em- 
peror, Kotzebue's allegorical festival play 'Die hundertjahrigen 
Eichen' had been ordered. Now, as generally happens, this de- 
cision was reached so late that I, as the composer, was allowed 
only three days, and two more for studying and rehearsing all the 
choruses, dances, marches, groupings, etc.," This festival play 
was on the 3d and rendered the necessary rehearsals of Beethoven's 
overture impossible.- 

"Fidelio" was sung the sixteenth time on the 9th. Toma- 
schek, one of the auditors on that evening, gave to the public in 

^See Nottebohm's "Beethoveniana," Chap. XIV. 

^Since this was written, Herr Nottebohm has kindly communicated a supplementary 
article on this overture containing portions of newly discovered sketches with the re- 
mark by Beethoven: "Overture for any occasion — or for concert use" and closing thus: 
"The last sketches were written about March, 1815." This seems a contradiction of the 
date given at the beginning of the autograph (October 1, 1814). This contradiction 
can be explained. Beethoven evidently noted the date when he began writing out the 
score, but interrupted the work (because the overture was not performed on the name-day 
of the Emperor.^) and did not take it up again until several months had passed, when the 
sketches and hints for passages which occur later may have originated." Certainly this 
is possible; but the different dates assigned to the Petter sketchbook (1809 in this work, 
1812 in the "Beethoveniana") necessarily lead to an irreconcilable divergence of opinion. 
A studious reconsideration of the subject ends in the conviction that the historic evidence, 
as it now stands, renders unnecessary any alterations in the text. 

Beethoven's Opinion of ^Meyerbeer 297 

1846 notes of the impression made upon him, in a criticism which, 
by its harshness, forms a curious contrast to Weissenbach's eulogy. 
Having exhausted that topic, however, Tomaschek describes his 
meetings in an account which has a peculiar interest not only 
because, though general descriptions of Beethoven's style of con- 
versation are numerous, attempts to report him in detail are very 
rare. The description is also valuable because of its vivid dis- 
play of Beethoven's manner of judging his contemporaries, which 
was so offensive to them and begal their lasting enmity. A 
dramatic poem, "Moses," words by Klingemann, music (overture, 
choruses and marches) by von Seyfried, was to be given on the 
evening of Tomaschek's first call. Tomaschek says he has no 
desire "to hear music of this kind" and the dialogue proceeds- as 
follows : 

B. — My God! There must also be such composers, otherwise what 
would the vulgar crowd do? 

T. — I am told that there is a young foreign artist here who is said 
to be an extraordinary pianoforte player. ^ 

B. — Yes, I, too, have heard of him, but have not heard him. My 
God! let him stay here only a quarter of a year and we shall hear what 
the Viennese think of his playing. I know how everything new pleases 

T. — You have probably never met him.'' 

B. — I got acquainted with him at the performance of my Battle, on 
which occasion a number of local composers played some instrument. 
The big drum fell to the lot of that young man. Ha! ha! ha! — I was not 
at all satisfied with him; he struck the drum badly and was always behind- 
hand, so that I had to give him a good dressing-down. Ha! Ha! Ha! — 
That may have angered him. There is nothing in him; he hasn't the 
courage to hit a blow at the right time. 

Before Tomaschek visited Beethoven again, Meyerbeer's opera 
"Die beiden Caliphen" had been produced at the Kiirnthnerthor 
Theatre. Tomaschek comes to take his farewell. Beethoven is 
in the midst of preparations for his concert and insists upon 
giving him a ticket. Then the conversation goes on: 

T. — Were you at 's opera? 

B. — No; it is said to have turned out very badly. I thought of 
you; you hit it when you said you expected little from his compositions. 
I talked with the opera singers, and that night after the production of tiie 
opera at the wine-house where they generally gather, I said to them 
frankly: You have distinguished yourselves again! — what piece of 
folly have you been guilty of again? You ought to be ashamed of your- 
selves not to know better, nor to be able to judge better, to have made 

1 Meyerbeer. 

298 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

such a noise about this opera! I should like to talk to you about it, but 
you do not understand me. 

T. — I was at the opera; it began with hallelujah and ended with 

B. — Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! It's the same with his playing. I am 
often asked if I have heard him — I say no; but from the opinions of my 
acquaintances who are capable of judging such things I could tell that 
he has agility indeed, but otherwise is a very superficial person. 

T. — I heard that before he went away he played at Herrn 's and 

pleased much less. 

B. — Ha, ha, ha, ha! WTiat did I tell you? — I understand that. 
Let him settle down here for half a year and then let us hear what will 
be said of his playing. All this signifies nothing. It has always been 
known that the greatest pianoforte players were also the greatest com- 
posers ; but how did they play ? Not like the pianists of to-day, who prance 
up and down the keyboard with passages which they have practised — 
'putsch, putsch, putsch; — what does that mean.'* Nothing! ^yhen true 
pianoforte virtuosi played it was always something homogeneous, an 
entity; if written down it would appear as a well thought-out work. 
That is pianoforte playing; the other thing is nothing! 

T. — I am also carrying away from here a very small opinion of 
's knowledge. 

B. — As I have said, he knows nothing outside of singing. 

T. — I hear that is creating a great sensation here. 

B. — My God! he plays nicely, nicely — but aside from that he is 

a . He will never amount to anything. These people have their 

little coteries where they go often; there they are praised and praised and 
that's the end of art! I tell you he will never amount to anything. I 
used to be too loud in my judgments and thereby made many enemies — 
now I criticize nobody and, indeed, for the reason that I do not want to 
injure anybody, and at the last I say to myself: if there is any good in it 
it will survive in spite of all attacks and envy; if it is not solid, not firm, 
it will fall to pieces, no matter how it is bolstered up. 

Of some minor compositions belonging to this autumn, this 
is the story: The Prussian King's Secretary, Friedrich Duncker, 
brought to Vienna, in the hope of producing it there, a tragedy, 
"Leonore Prohaska," "which tells the story of a maiden who, dis- 
guised as a soldier, fought through the war of liberation." For 
this Beethoven composed a soldiers' chorus for men's voices 
unaccompanied: "^Yi^ hauen und sterben"; a romance with 
harp, %, "EsbluhteineBlume"; and a melodrama with harmonica. 
It is also stated, that he instrumentated for orchestra the march 
in the Sonata, Opus 26, Duncker preferring this to a new marcia 
funebre.^ Dr. Sonnleithner had also a note from some quarter 
— discredited by him — that even an overture and entr'actes were 

'That Beethoven transcribed the march in the Sonata, Op. 26, for orchestra is 
confirmed by the following letter of Chapelmaster Ad. Miiller (pere) written to the author 
in answer to a note of inquiry: 

Cantata : '*Der glorreiche Augenblick" 299 

written. Nothing of the kind is known to exist, and doubtless 
never did. *'It is said the censor would not allow the piece" — it 
certainly never came to performance; and until its production 
was made sure, Beethoven would of course — even if he had the 
time — not have engaged in a work of such extent. 

Beethoven had announced a grand concert for November 20, 
in the large Ridotto Room, but advertisements in the "Wiener 
Zeitung" of the 18th postponed it till November 22d, then till the 
27th, and finally till the 29th. On November 30th, the newspaper 

At noon of yesterday, Hr. Ludwig v. Beethoven gave all music-lovers 
an ecstatic pleasure. In the R. I. Ridotto Room he gave performances of 
his beautiful musical representation of Wellington's Battle at Vittoria, pre- 
ceded by the symphony which had been composed as a companion- 
piece. Between the two works an entirely new, etc., etc., cantata, Der 
glorreiche Augenblick. 

One would like to know what Beethoven said when he read 
this; for the symphony supposed by the writer to be composed as a 
companion-piece (Begleitung) to the "Wellington's Victory" was 
the magnificent Seventh!^ 

The solo singers in the Cantata were Mme. Milder, Dem. 
Bondra, Hr. Wild and Hr. Forti, all of whom sang well, and the 
Milder wonderfully. "The two Empresses, the King of Prussia" 
and other royalties were present and "the great hall was crowded. 
Seated in the orchestra were to be seen the foremost virtuosi, who 
were in the habit of showing their respect for him and art by taking 
part in Beethoven's Academies." All the contemporary notices 

"Highly respected Sir! 

"To your valued letter I have to make reply as follows: I certainly have in my 
autograph collection the autograph of the orchestral score of the funeral march contained 
in the great Sonata for Pianoforte, Op. 26: The score consists of six sheets and twelve 
pages — written throughout in Beethoven's hand. On the 1st, 8th and 12th pages there 
are marginal notes for the copyist. 

"The piece is orchestrated for 2 flutes, 2 clarinets in C, 2 horns in D, 2 horns in E, 
to which are added four staves for instruments which are not named, probably for trum- 
pets and trombones. [To judge by the setting rather for the string quartet.] 

"I received this score of the celebrated master from the art and music dealer Tobias 
Haslinger in the year 1829-30 with the remark, here faithfully reported, that he gave 
me the manuscript with pleasure as a souvenir, inasmuch as he would by no means 
print or publish the composition in this form. This score therefore is unique I The piece 
is in B minor. . . . 

"Your ever ready 

"Adolph Muller." 

Together with the other music to "Leonore Prohaska" the march is printed in the 
Complete Edition of Breitkopf and Hartel, Series 25, No. 272. 

^The circumstances connected with the last postponement of this concert and the 
onerous conditions which Count PalfTy sought to impose upon Beethoven are interest- 
ingly told by Dr. Frimmel in his "Beethoven-Studien, Vol. II," p. 41 et seq. 

300 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

agree as to the enthusiastic reception of the Symphony and the 
Battle, and that the Cantata, notwithstanding the poverty of the 
text, was, on the whole, worthy of the composer's reputation and 
contained some very fine numbers. The concert, with precisely 
the same programme, was repeated in the same hall on Friday, 
December 2d, for Beethoven's benefit — nearly half the seats 
being empty! And again in the evening of the 25th for the benefit 
of the St. Mark's Hospital, when, of course, a large audience was 
present. Thus the Cantata was given three times in four weeks, 
and probably Spohr, who was still in Vienna, played in the orches- 
tra; yet he gravely asserts in his autobiography that "the work 
was not performed at that time." 

The proposed third concert for Beethoven's benefit was aban- 
doned and there is no clue to the "new things in hand" for it, which 
Beethoven mentioned in a letter to Archduke Rudolph, unless 
possibly the "Meeresstille und gliickliche Fahrt" may have been 
begun for the occasion. The most remarkable and gratifying 
thing in the letter, however, is to find Beethoven once more 
speaking of "pleasures and joy" — whence arising, we learn from 
Schindler. True, he does not, nor cannot yet, speak from per- 
sonal observation; but his well-known relations to the composer 
began while the memories of these days were still fresh; and what 
he records is derived from Beethoven himself for the most part, 
though, as usual, he has inserted a statement or two, honestly 
made, but not the less incorrect on that account. But first, a 
paragraph from an article by Schindler in Raumer's "Hist. 
Taschenbuch," published in 1863: 

The role which Rasoumowsky played in Vienna at this time was one 
of unparalleled brilliancy. From the first weeks of the Congress his house 
was full. Thus Gentz notes under date Sept. 18: "Visited Rasoumowsky; 
there innumerable visitors, among others Lord and Lady Castlereagh, 
Count Munster, Count Westphalen, Mr. Coke, the jMarquis de Saint- 
Marsan, Count Castellafu, all the Prussians, etc." But as balls soon 
became the order of the day and Count Stackelherg had given his on 
October 20, 1814, when the Czar and Czarina of Russia, the King of 
Prussia and other grandees of all kinds ap])eared, he also planned one 
for December 6, and Gentz, who permitted himself the magical vision for 
only a moment and had to work that night till two o'clock on his dis- 
patches, assures us that this feast was the most beautiful of all that he had 
attended since the arrival of the French monarch. It was only over- 
shadowed by that which Czar Alexander gave in the same palace, which 
he borrowed for the occasion from his princely subject. 

Turn we to Schindler: 

The end of the second period (in Beethoven's life) showed us the 
composer on a plane of celebrity which may fairly be described as one of 

Honors Received at the Vienna Congress 301 

the loftiest ever reached by a musician in the course of his artistic striv- 
ings. Let us not forget that it was the fruit of twenty years of tireless 
endeavor. The great moment in the history of the world with whicli 
this celebration of his fame was synchronous could not fail to give the 
incident a brilliancy unparalleled in the history of music. The apparent 
extravagance of the statement is pardonable when we add that nearly all 
the rulers of Europe who met at the Vienna Congress placed their seals 
on our master's certificate of fame. 

As Rasoumowsky was not elevated to the rank of Prince until 
June 3rd, 1815, Schindler, in his next sentences, is all wrong in 
making that incident "the cause of festivities of a most extra- 
ordinary character to which Beethoven was always invited." 

There (Schindler continues) he was the object of general attention on 
the part of all the foreigners; for it is the quality of creative genius com- 
bined with a certain heroism, to attract the attention of all noble natures. 
Shall we not call it heroism, when w^e see the composer fighting against 
prejudices of all kinds, traditional notions in respect of his art, envy, 
jealousy and malice on the part of the mass of musicians, and besides this 
against the sense most necessary to him in the practice of his art, and yet 
winning the exalted position which he occupies? No wonder that all 
strove to do him homage. He was presented by Prince [Count] Rasou- 
mowsky to the assembled monarchs, who made known their respect for 
him in the most flattering terms. The Empress of Russia tried in par- 
ticular to be complimentary to him. The introduction took place in the 
rooms of Archduke Rudolph, in which he was also greeted by other exalted 
personages. It would seem as if the Archduke was desirous always to 
take part in the celebration of his great teacher's triumph by inviting the 
distinguished foreigners to meet Beethoven. It was not without emotion 
that the great master recalled those days in the Imperial castle and the 
palace of the Russian Prince; and once he told with a certain pride how 
he had suffered the crowned heads to pay court to him and had always 
borne himself with an air of distinction. 

There is reason to believe that these receptions in the apart- 
ments of the Archduke did not begin until those at Rasoumowsky 's 
had come to their disastrous end. Huge as the palace was, it 
lacked space for the crowds invited thither to the Czar's festiv- 
ities. A large temporary structure of wood was therefore added 
on the side next the garden, in which, on the evening of December 
30th, a table for 700 guests w^as spread. Betw^een five and six 
o'clock of the morning of the 31st, this was discovered to be on 
fire — probably owing to a defective flue — the conflagration ex- 
tending to the main building and lasting until noon. 

Within the space of a few hours several rooms in this gorgeous 
establishment, on which for 20 years its creator had expended everything 
that splendor, artistic knowledge and liberality could offer, were prey 
of the raging flames. Among them were the precious library and the 

302 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

inestimable Canova room completely filled with sculptures by this master, 
which were demolished by the falling of the ceiling. 

The loss was incalculable. To rebuild the palace out of his own 
means was not to be thought of; but Alexander lost no time in offering his 
assistance and in sending Prince Wolkonski to him to learn how much 
money would be required to defray the principal cost. The Count esti- 
mated it at 400,000 silver rubels, which sum he requested as a loan, and 
received on January 24, 1815. But the sum was far from enough, and in 
order to obtain further loans, ownership of the splendid building had to be 

And thus Rasoumowsky also passes out of our history. — 
Among the visitors to Vienna at the time of the Congress was 
Varnhagen von Ense, who had gone into the diplomatic service; 
he came in the company of the Prussian Chancellor von Har- 
denburg. His attitude toward Beethoven had cooled — probably 
because of Oliva's complaints touching Beethoven's behavior 
towards him. His brief report of his meeting with the composer 
derives some interest from its allusion to Prince Radziwill, to 
whom Beethoven dedicated the Overture, Op. 115 (which was 
not published until 1825). The report (printed in Varnhagen's 
**Denkwurdigkeiten," Vol. Ill, pp. 314-15) is as follows: 

Musical treats were offered on all hands, concerts, the church, opera, 
salon, virtuosi and amateurs all gave of their best. Prince Anton 
Radziwill, who was already far advanced in his composition of Goethe's 
"Faust" and here gave free rein to his musical inclinations, was the cause 
of my again looking up my sturdy Beethoven, who, however, since I saw 
him last had grown more deaf and unsociable, and was not to be per- 
suaded to gratify our wishes. He was particularly averse to our notables 
and gave expression to his repugnance with angry violence. When 
reminded that the Prince was the brother-in-law of Prince Louis Ferdi- 
nand of Prussia, whose early death he had so deeply deplored and whose 
compositions he esteemed highly, he yielded a trifle and agreed to the 
visit. But it is not likely that a more intimate acquaintance followed. 
I also refrained from taking the uncouth artist to Rahel, for society 
rendered him obstreperous and nothing could be done with him alone, 
nothing could be done unless he was disposed to play. Besides, though 
famous and honored, he was not yet on that pinnacle of recognition which 
he has since attained. 

The compositions of the year 1814 were these: 

I. Vocal Trio: "Treraate, empj, tremate." Practically composed 
in 1801-02, but not known to have been com])leted and written out for 
performance and publication until "something for Milder" was needed in 
the concert of February 27th. 

H. "Germania's Wiedergeburt"; chorus in Treitschke's "Gute 

Ill "Fidelio"; revised and altered. 

IV. "Un lieto Brindisi"; cantata campestre, four voices. 

Compositions and Publications of 1814 303 

V. Elegiac Song: "Sanft wie du lebtest," four voices and strings. 

VI. Chorus: "Ihr weisen Griinder." 

VII. Sonata for Pianoforte, E minor, Op. 90. 

VIII. Overture in C, Op. 115. 

IX. Cantata: "Der glorreiche Augenblick." 

X. Three vocal pieces and march (orchestration of the march in 
the Sonata, Op. 26), for Duncker's tragedy "Leonore Prohaska." 

XI. Canon: "Kurz ist der Schmerz"; second form as written in 
Spohr's Album "on March 3d, 1815." 

XII. Song: "Des Kriegers Abschied." 

XIII. Song: "Merkenstein," Op. 100; "On December 22d, 1814." 

XIV. "Abschiedsgesang"; for two tenors and bass ("Die Stunde 
schlagt"). Note on the publication in the "Completed Works, etc.": 
"Beethoven wrote this terzetto at the request of Magistrate Mathias 
Tuscher for the farewell party of Dr. Leop. Weiss before his removal to 
the city of Steyer." Beethoven inscribed it: "From Beethoven, so that 
he may no longer be touched up." (Um nicht weiter tuschiert zu werden. 
The pun on the Magistrate's name is lost in the translation. Tuschiren 
means to touch up with India ink.) 

The publications of the year: 

I. Irish Airs, Vol. I, complete, published by Thomson. 

II. Chorus: "Germania's Wiedergeburt"; published in June. 

III. Song: "An die Geliebte," by J. L. Stoll; published as a supple- 
ment to the "Friedensblatter," July 12. 

IV. Six Allemandes for Pianoforte and Violin, advertised by 
Ludwig Maisch on July 30. (The author lacks means and opportunity 
to determine the authenticity of these dances. It is, however, hardly 
probable that a Viennese publisher would venture at that time to use 
Beethoven's name thus without authority.) 

V. "Fidelio"; Pianoforte arrangement by I. Moscheles. Pub- 
lished by Artaria and Co., in August. 

Chapter XV 

The Year 1815 — New Opera Projects — Beethoven Before 
Crowned Heads — End of the Kinskv Trouble — Death of 
Karl van Beethoven — The Nephew — Deahngs with 

BEETHOVEN might well have adopted Kotzebue's title: 
"The most Remarkable Year of my Life" and written his 
own history for 1814, in glowing and triumphant language; 
but now the theme modulates into a soberer key. "Then there 
is the matter of a new opera," says a letter to the Archduke early 
in December. The "Sammler" of the 17th explains the allusion: 
"It is with great pleasure that we inform the music-loving public 
that Herr van Beethoven has contracted to compose an opera. 
The poem is by Herrn Treitschke and bears the title: 'Romulus 
and Remus.' " The notice was based upon this note to 

I will compose Romulus and shall begin in a few days, I will come 
to you in person, first once then several times so that we may discuss the 
whole matter with each other. 

Now here was a promising operatic project; but before six 
weeks had passed came the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung" bringing Johann 
Fuss's musical "Review of the month of December," wherein 
among the items of Vienna news was a notice that "Hr. Fuss had 
composed an opera in three acts entitled 'Romulus and Remus' 
for the Theater-an-der-Wien" ! And this was so; portions of it 
were afterwards sung by a musical society of which Dr. L. Sonn- 
leithner w'as a member, and in Pressburg it was put upon the 
stage at a later date; — but it never came to performance in the 
theatres of Vienna, perhaps in consequence of measures adopted 
after the following letter to Treitschke: 

I thought I could expedite the matter by sending Hrn. v. Schrey- 
vogel a copy of this letter — but no. 

You see this Fuss can attack me in all the newspapers, unless I can 
produce some written evidence against him, or you — or the director of the 


A Polonaise for the Empress of Russia 305 

theatre undertake to make a settlement with him. On the other hand 
the business of my contract for the opera is not conchided. 

I beg of you to write me an answer especially as regards Fuss's letter; 
the matter would be easily decided in the court of art, but this is not the 
case, which, much as we should like to, we must consider. 

The matter was so arranged with Fuss as to leave the text in 
Beethoven's hands; but how, and on what terms, is not known. 

Among the sketches to "Der glorreiche Augenblick" appears 
the theme of the Polonaise for Pianoforte, Op. 89, the story of 
which is as follows: In a conversation with Beethoven one day, 
in the time of the Congress, Bertolini suggested to him that, as 
polonaises were then so much in vogue, he should compose one and 
dedicate it to the Empress of Russia; for, perhaps, thereby 
he might also obtain some acknowledgment from Emperor 
Alexander for the dedication to him of the Violin Sonatas, Op. 30, 
— for none had ever been made. As usual, Beethoven at first 
scorned dictation, but at length thought better of the proposal, 
sat down to the pianoforte, improvised various themes and re- 
quested Bertolini to choose one; which he did. When it was 
completed, they waited upon Walkonski, to seek through him 
permission to make the proposed dedication, which was granted. 
At the appointed time Beethoven was admitted to an audience 
with the Empress and presented the Polonaise, for which he re- 
ceived a present of 50 ducats. On this occasion he was asked, if 
he had ever received anything from the Czar.'^ As he had not, 
a hundred ducats was added for the Sonatas.^ 

It was about this time (precisely when the painter could not 
remember when speaking of it in 1861), that Beethoven sat again 
to his friend Mahler, who wished to add his portrait to his gallery 
of musicians. This was the picture which, after the death of the 
artist, was purchased by Prof. Karajan. Another portrait of 
Beethoven was painted by Mahler for Gleichenstein. On the 
25th of January, a grand festival took place in the Burg on the 
occasion of the Russian Empress's birthday, which in part con- 
sisted of a concert in the Rittersaal. The last piece on the pro- 
gramme was the canon in "Fidelio": "Mir ist so wunderbar," and 
by a whimsical stroke of fortune Beethoven himself appeared, and, 
to the audience of emperors and empresses, kings and queens, with 
their ministers and retinues, played for the last time in public! 
Wild, who dates the concert a month too soon, gives an account 

^In Jahn's notices these sums are doubled. This audience is doubtless the one 
referred to by Schindler, as being proposed by the Empress, or perhaps was a con- 
sequence of that one. 

306 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

of it in which, after telling of his own success with "Adelaide," he 
says : 

It would be as untruthful as absurd were I to deny that my 
vanity was flattered by the distinction which the gathered celebrities 
bestowed upon me; but this performance of "Adelaide" had one result 
which was infinitely more gratifying to my artistic nature; it was the 
cause of my coming into closer contact with the greatest musical genius 
of all time, Beethoven. The master, rejoiced at my choice of his song, 
hunted me up and offered to accompany me. Satisfied with my singing 
he told me that he would orchestrate the song. He did not do this, but 
wrote for me the cantata "An die Hoffnung" (words by Tiedge) with 
pianoforte accompaniment, which, he playing for me, I sang at a matinee 
before a select audience. 

By far the most important event in Beethoven's history dur- 
ing these months, was the final settlement, by compromise, of the 
annuity affair with the Kinsky heirs, on the 18th of January. So 
soon as the legal formalities could be ended and communicated to 
Beethoven, he issued in autograph a power of attorney to Baron 
Josef von Pasqualati in Prague to collect the money due, and act 
for him in all things necessary. On March 26th, Pasqualati 
acknowledged the receipt of 2479 florins W. W. as payment on 
the annuity in full up to the end of March, 1815. In this instance 
"W. W." {Wiener Wdhrung) meant notes of redemption, since the 
bank-notes had been retired from circulation in 1812. The com- 
promise decree arrived at through the ministration of Dr. Kanka 
fixed the original annuity of 1800 florins at 1200 florins, beginning 
on November 3d, 1812. There was therefore due to Beethoven, 
for from November 3d to the end of March, 1815, 2890 florins, 
from which was deducted 411 florins, as the equivalent of the 60 
ducats paid to Beethoven by Prince Kinsky in October, 1812, 
leaving 2479 florins as aforesaid. The decision in the case with 
Lobkowitz also soon followed. According to the judgment of 
the Court, entered on April 19, 1815, the future annual payments 
were fixed at 700 florins (the equivalent of 280 fl. conventional 
coin, silver), and the 2508 fl. arrears were ordered paid in notes of 
redemption within two months. Payments were made accord- 
ingly and (as Dr. v. Kochel reported in a private note to the 
author), from 1811 up to his death, Beethoven received on the 
annuity contract the following sums every year: 

From Archduke Rudolph .... 1500 fl. 

From Prince Kinsky 1200 

From Prince Lobkowitz .... 700 

Total .... 3400 fl. 

LoBKOwiTz's Generous and Honorable Conduct 307 

This sum, 3400 fl. in notes of redemption, was the equivalent of 1360 
fl. Con. M., silver, or 952 Prussian thalers. 

Notwithstanding that Prince Lobkowitz's financial affairs 
had been satisfactorily ordered, his return to Vienna was delayed 
until the Spring of 1815, one reason being that (as he states in a 
letter to Archduke Rudolph, dated Prague, December 29, 1814) 
an opinion prevailed in the Austrian capital that his presence 
would be "unseemly." In this letter he gives expression to his 
feelings toward Beethoven as follows: 

Although I have reason to be anything but satisfied with the be- 
havior of Beethoven toward me, I am nevertheless rejoiced, as a passion- 
ate lover of music, that his assuredly great works are beginning to be 
appreciated. I heard "Fidelio" here^ and barring the book, I was extra- 
ordinarily pleased with the music, except the two finales, which I do not 
like very much. I think the music extremely effective and worthy of the 
man who composed it. 

Is this not nobly said? 

Consider these facts: Lobkowitz was now deprived of the 
control of his revenues; those revenues, in so far as they were 
based upon contracts, were subject to the Finanz- Patent of 1811; 
the curators of his estates were also bound by it; and the General 
Court (Landrecht) had no power arbitrarily to set it aside. What 
that tribunal could and did do was, by its assent and decree, to 
give binding force to such agreement between the parties in prin- 
cipal, as had obtained the sanction of the curators, with, probably, 
the consent of the principal creditors of the Prince. It follows 
then that the concession of Beethoven's full demand of 700 fl. in 
notes of redemption could have been obtained only through the 
good will and active intervention of Lobkowitz himself, using his 
personal influence with the other parties concerned. Schindler 
incidentally confirms this. 

Will the reader here pause a moment and think what impres- 
sion the aspersions on Lobkowitz's character in Beethoven's 
letters have left upon his mind.? Have they not begotten a 
prejudice so strengthened by "damnable iteration" that it is 
now hardly possible to overcome it, and believe it unfounded.' 
Lobkowitz, young, generous to prodigality, rendered careless by 
the very magnitude of his possessions, had, in the lapse of some 
twenty years, so squandered his enormous resources, as to fall 
into temporary embarrassments, which threw the responsibility of 

i"Fidelio" had its first performance in Prague on November 21, 1814. Liebich 
was the director of the theatre, and C. M. von Weber chapelmaster. 

308 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

meeting his pecuniary engagements upon others, who were bound 
by the nature of their office to pay none but strictly legal claims. 
Thus Beethoven became a loser in part of what was originally 
no debt, but a gift — or rather would have been so, but for the 
interference of Lobkowitz. 

We have here another warning of the great caution to be exer- 
cised when using private correspondence for purposes of biography. 
In writing of Beethoven this is especially necessary, because so 
large a proportion of it consists of confidential notes and com- 
munications containing the ebullitions of splenetic moments, and 
not seldom hasty charges and mistaken accusations, such as he 
gladly withdrew on learning the truth. To accept all this with- 
out question is preposterous; to use it as authentic historic matter 
without scrupulous examination, is to do great injustice to the 

The proof is ample, that Beethoven was already fully 
convinced of the entire innocence of both Prince Kinsky and 
Prince Lobkowitz of all desire to escape any really just demands 
upon them: yet, probably, until the greater part of our present 
Beethoven literature has sunk into oblivion, the memory of those 
noble and generous personages will be made to suffer on the 
authority of Beethoven's hasty expressions. 

A letter written in English, probably by his friend Haring, 
who had been much in England, and signed by Beethoven, 
marks the progress of his business with Thomson: 


Mr. George Thomson, merchant in the musical line. 

Edingbourgh, Scottland. 

Many concerns have prevented my answers to your favors, to 
which I reply only in part. All your songs with the exception of a few 
are ready to be forwarded. I mean those to which I was to write the 
accompaniments, for with respect to the 6 Canzonettes, which I am to 
compose I own that the honorary you offered is totally inadequate. 
Circumstances here are much altered and taxes have been so much 
raised after the English fashion that my share for 1814 was near 60£s. 
besides an original good air, — and what you also wish — an Overture, are 
perhaps the most difficult undertakings in musical compositions. I 
therefore beg to state that my honorary for 6 songs or airs must be 35£ 
or seventy impl. Ducats— and for an Overture 20£ or 50 impl. Ducats. 
You will please to assign the payment here as usual, and yoii may depend 
that I shall do you justice. No artiste of talent and merit will find my 
pretentions extravagant. 

Concerning the overture you will please to indicate in your reply 
whether you wish to have it composed for an easy or more diflficult 

"The Mount of Olives" ix London 309 

execution. I expect your immediate answer having several orders to 
attend, and I shall in a little time write more copiously in reply to your 
favors already received. I beg you to thank the author for the Very 
ingenious and flattering verses, which obtained by your means. Allow 
me to subscribe myself 


your very obedt. & humble servt. 
Vienna, Feb. 7 [?], 1815. Ludwig van Beethoven. 

This naturally turns our attention to Beethoven's English affairs. 
"Christus am Olberg" ("The Mount of Olives," as the oratorio 
is- called in England and America) had been given for the first 
time in England on February 25, 1814, by Sir George Smart, who 
in 1861, in conversation with the author at his house (the one in 
which Weber died), related the circumstances of this production 
and of "Wellington's Victory," which was a consequence of the 
success of the oratorio, substantially as follows: 

In the winter of 1812-1813, Smart undertook the Lenten 
oratorio season at Drury Lane Theatre, introducing at the first 
concert, January 30, 1813, Handel's "Messiah" with Mozart's 
additional accompaniments, but not noting this fact upon the 
programme. The audience was delighted w^ith the new effects 
and Mozart's name appeared on the next programme. During this 
season Smart heard the "Christus am Olberg" spoken of. 
Desiring to find some novelty the next season and Beethoven 
having already a great name, he offered £50 to anyone who would 
procure him the score of that work published by Breitkopf and 
Hartel — an exceedingly difficult thing to get at that time, 
when Napoleon had almost hermetically sealed the Continent 
against England. The next winter (1813-14) Jack Morris, keeper 
of a tavern or eating-house of the better sort, a man who had free 
entry behind the scenes of the theatre and was continually there, 
came to Smart and put the score of the oratorio into his hands, 
to his (Smart's) great astonishment. 

"Well," said Smart, "I'll give you the £50." 

"No," was the reply, "I'll take only two guineas, for that's 
what I paid for it." 

"How did you get it?" asked Smart. 

"A friend of mine who is a King's Messenger bought it for me 
in Leipsic." 

The only acknowledgment that Morris would take, beside 
the two guineas, was that Smart should accept an invitation from 
him to be present at a pugilistic exhibition and at the supper after- 
wards. The score bears the date of reception, January 7, 1814. 

Now to bring it out. 

310 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Samuel J. Arnold translated the text, putting all the charac- 
ters into the third person, so as not to shock English feelings of 
reverence by producing Christ and the Apostles on the stage, and 
Smart adapted the translation to the music. It was rehearsed 
at his house ("in this room," said he), and very ill received by 
amateurs present, who told Smart, he was mad to produce such a 
thing! On February 25th, the first part of the programme of the 
"Oratorio," a sacred concert, at Drury Lane Theatre, was 
selections from the "Messiah" in which Catalani sang; Part II, 
"The Mount of Olives," solos by Mrs. Dickens, Mrs. Bland, Mr. 
Pyne and Mr. Bellamy; Part III, Musical selections. Parts 
I and II also closed with selections from "Paradise Lost" read by 
Miss Smith. The tenth, and last, performance was on May 28th. 

Subsequently, Kramer, master of the Prince Regent's band, 
told Smart that the Prince had the score of a Battle Symphony by 
Beethoven, and he was welcome to the use of it, if he desired to 
produce it. Smart, encouraged by the success of the "Christus," 
was delighted, notwithstanding the musicians called the work a 
piece of musical quackery. On examining it. Sir George saw that 
it would never do with his audience to end with the fugue on 
"God save the King," and consulted with Ferdinand Ries as to 
what kind of close to make. Ries added to the score a short 
passage of modulation, which led from the fugue into the plain, 
simple tune. The work was copied, rehearsed, and produced on 
the 10th of February, 1815, as Part II of a Drury Lane "Oratorio" 
— the word being used then for a sacred concert, like "Akademie" 
in Vienna for a secular one. As the orchestra ended Ries' pas- 
sage of modulation, the hymn was taken up and sung by the 
principal solo singers, and the full chorus. The audience used 
also to join in and make the old theatre ring again. The success 
was immense; it was performed several seasons, and Smart cleared 
£lOOOby it.i 

There is a sketchbook in the Mendelssohn collection, which 
shows in part what compositions employed Beethoven's thoughts 
about this time. It contains sketches to marches; for a "Sym- 
phony in B minor"; a "Sonata 'cello pastorale"; a chorus, 
"Meeresstille"; a song, "Merkenstein." This confirms a state- 
ment of Czerny's: "On 'Merkenstein,' Beethoven composed two 
little songs, both, I think, for almanacs." The one published by 

lit was Smart, who also made Beethoven's Mass in C known in England. 
On April 3rd, 1816, the "Kyrie" as a "First Hymn" with an English text by Arnold, 
was on the programme; March 17, 1817, the "Second Hymn," and at last the complete 

Compositions Offered to England 311 

Steiner and Co., however, does not appear to have come out in that 
manner. The date of these sketches is fixed by a memorandum of 
Beethoven's on the seventh leaf, of Smart's production in London 
of "Wellington's Victory": "In Drurylane Theatre on February 
10th, and repeated by general request on the 13th, 'Wiener Zei- 
tung' of March 2d." This led to inquiry, and Sir George Smart's 
name, as leader of the Lenten concerts in London, became 
known to Beethoven, who engaged his friend Haring, who knew 
Smart intimately, to write the following English letter in his 

To Sir George Smart, 

Great Portland St., London. 
My Dear Sir George : 

I see by the papers that you have brought forth in the theatre 
Beethoven's battle and that it was received with considerable applause. 
I was very happy to find that your partiality to Mr. B's compositions is 
not diminished and therefore I take the liberty in his name to thank you 
for the assistance you afforded in the performance of that uncommon 
piece of music. He has arranged it for the pianoforte, but having offered 
the original to his R. H. the Prince Regent, he durst not sell that arrange- 
ment to any Editor, until he knew the Prince's pleasure, not only with 
respect to the dedication, but in general. Having waited so many months 
without receiving the least acknowledgment, he begged me to apply 
to you for advice. His idea is to dispose of this arrangement and of 
several other original compositions to an Editor in London — or perhaps 
to several united — if they would make a handsome offer — they would 
besides engage to let him know the day of the appearance for sale of 
the respective pieces, in order that the Editor here, may not publish one 
copy before the day to be mentioned. At the end of this letter follows 
the list of such compositions, with the price, which the Author expects. 
I am persuaded, Sir George, you will exert yourself to benefit this great 
genius. He talks continually of going to England, but I am afraid that 
his deafness, seemingly increasing, does not allow him the execution 
of this favorite idea. 

You are informed without doubt that his opera "Fidelio" has had 
the most brilliant success here, but the execution is so difficult, that it 
could not suit any of the English houses. 

I submit here his list with the prices. None of the following pieces 
has been published, but No. 2, 4 and 9 have been performed with the 
greatest applause. 

1. Serious Quartett for 2 violins, tenor and bass 40 guineas. 

2. Battle of Vittoria — Score 70 guineas. 

3. Battle of Vittoria arranged for the pianoforte 30 guineas. 

4. A Grand Symphony — Score 70 guineas. 

5. A Grand Symphony arranged for the pianoforte 30 guineas. 

6. A Symphony — Key F — Score 40 guineas. 

7. A Symphony, arranged 20 guineas. 

8. Grand Trio for the pianoforte, violin and violoncello. . . .40 guineas. 

9. Three Overtures for a full Orchestra each 30 guineas. 

312 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

10. The Three Arrangements each 15 guineas. 

11. A Grand Sonata for the pianoforte and violin 25 guineas. 

The above is the produce of four years labor. 

Our friend Neate has not yet made his appearance here — nor is it 
at all known where he is roving about. We — I mean mostly amateurs — 
are now rehearsing Handel's "Messiah" — I am to be leader of the 2d vio- 
lins; there will be this time 144 violins — first and second altogether, 
and the singers and remainder in proportion. I have been so unfortu- 
nate, as not to receive a single line or answer from England since my 
stay in Vienna, which is near three months; this discourages me very 
much from writing, for I have dispatched immediately after my arrival 
several letters and have been continuing to send letters, but all in vain. 
Amongst those to whom I wrote about two months ago, is our friend 
Disi — pray if you meet him and his very respectable family [give them] 
my best regards. I have passed so many happy hours in his house, 
it would be highly ungrateful for me to forget such an amiable family. 

Beethoven happening to call on me just now, he wishes to address a 
few lines to you [which you will] find at the bottom of this. . . . My 
direction is "Monsieur Jean de Haring, No. 298 Kohlmarkt, Vienna." 

Poor B. is very anxious to hear something of the English editors, as 
he hardly can keep those of this city from him, who tease him for his 

Haring now writes the following for Beethoven to sign: 

Give me leave to thank you for the trouble you have taken several 
times as I understand, in taking my works under your protection, by 
which I don't doubt all justice has been done. I hope you will not find 
it indiscreet if I solicit you to answer Mr. Baring's letter as soon as 
possible. I should feel myself highly flattered if you w^ould express 
your wishes, that I may meet them, in which you will always find me 
ready, as an acknowledgment for the favors you have heaped upon my 

Yours gratefully, 
Vienna 16. March, 1815. Ludwig van Beethoven. 

And now I shall beg, my dear Sir George, not to take this long letter 
amiss and to believe that I am always with the greatest regard. 

Your most humble and obedient servant, 
Vienna 19. March, 1815. John Haring. 

The works enumerated in this letter, taking them in the same 
order, are Op. 95, 91, 92, 93, 97, 113, 115, 117 and 96. Haring was 
evidently ignorant that all of Beethoven's new works were even 
then sold, except for England. Steiner had purchased them. 
The precise terms of the contract betw^een the composer and this 
publisher are not known; for, although the transaction was too 
important to have been left to a mere parole agreement, no written 
instrument has been discovered. Jahn had no copy of any; and 
Nottebohm writes (November 19, 1875) : "I w^as yesterday in the 

Works Sold to Steiner 313 

comptoir of Haslinger, but there nothing is to be found." The 
earliest reference to the business yet discovered is a letter to 
Steiner, from which it is to be inferred that Karl van Beethoven 
was in some manner interested — perhaps as arranger, under his 
brother's inspection, of the editions for pianoforte of the orches- 
tral works: 

Vienna, February 1, 1815. 
Most Wellborn Lieutenant-General ! 

I have received to-day your letter to my brother and am satisfied 
with it but must beg of you to pay also the cost of the pianoforte arrange- 
ments in addition, as I am obliged to pay for everything in the world and 
more dearly than others it would be a hardship for me; besides I don't 
believe that you can complain about the honorarium of 250 ducats — but 
neither do I want to complain, therefore arrange for the transcriptions 
yourself, but all must be revised by me and if necessary improved, I 
hope that you are satisfied with this. 

In addition to this you might give my brother the collected pianoforte 
works of Clementi, Mozart, Haidn, he needs them for his little son, do this 
my dearest Steiner, and be not stone, ^ as stony as your name is — farewell 
excellent Lieutenant-General, I am always. 

Yours truly, 


Ludwig van Beethoven. 

The works purchased by Steiner are named in a list sent by 
Nottebohm with the letter above cited. It is the copy of an 
unsigned memorandum, evidently proceeding from Beethoven, 
which, except the omission of the works mentioned in the Haring 
letter, runs thus: 


Concerning the following original musical compositions, composed 
by the undersigned, and surrendered as property to the licensed art 
dealer H. S. A. Steiner. 

1st. Score of the opera Fidelio. 

2d. Score of the cantata Der glorreiche Augenblick. 

3d. Score of a quartet for 2 violins, viola and basso. 

4th. Score of a grand Terzet to be sung with pianoforte arrange- 

5th. Score of the Battle of Vittoria with pianoforte arrangement. 

6th. Pianoforte arrangement and score of a Symphony in F. 

7th. Pianoforte arrangement and score of a Symphony in A major. 

8th. Grand Trio for pianoforte, violin and basso in score. 

9th. Grand Sonata for pianoforte and violin in score. 

10th. Score of a Grand Overture in E-flat major. 

11th. Score of a Grand Overture in C major 

12th. Score of a Grand Overture in G major. 

^German: Stein = English: stone. 

314 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

13th. 12 English songs with pianoforte accompaniment and German 

For all of these works which H. Steiner may use as his property in 
all places except England, I have been wholly recompensed. 
Vienna, April 29, 1815. 

Whatever may have been the proposed interest of Karl van 
Beethoven in the contract, his failing health soon prevented him 
from performing any labor under it. The correspondence with 
Steiner and Co. indicates that the task of arranging the orchestral 
works for the pianoforte was performed by Haslinger and Anton 
Diabelli, with occasional assistance from Carl Czerny, under 
Beethoven's superintendence. 

Diabelli, born near Salzburg in 1781, had now been for some 
years one of the more prolific composers of light and pleasing 
music, and one of the best and most popular teachers in Vienna^ 
He was much employed by Steiner and Co., as copyist and corrector, 
and in this capacity enjoyed much of Beethoven's confidence, who 
also heartily liked him as a man. In the composer's comical 
military staff, he was the "General Profoss," and in the corre- 
spondence his name becomes "Diabolus" — for Beethoven could 
never resist the temptation to a play upon words. About the 
1st of April Beethoven received a package which proved to be an 
opera text by Rudolph von Berge, sent to him with a letter by his. 
old friend Amenda from Courland. While this letter was under 
way Beethoven received a visit from a friend of Amenda's who, on 
his departure from Vienna, carried with him a letter in which he 

You are 1000 times in my mind with your patriarchial simplicity — 
unfortunately for my good or that of others, fate denies my wishes in this 
respect, I can say that I live almost alone in this greatest city of Germany 
since I must live almost in estrangement from all persons whom I love- 
or could love — on what kind of footing is music with you.f* Have you 
ever heard any of my great works there.'* Great say I — compared with 
the works of the Highest, everything is small! 

The opera book sent by Amenda was entitled, "*Bacchus,' 
Grand Lyric Opera in Three Acts." The libretto was preserved 
among Schindler's papers in the Royal Library in Berlin, It 
seems likely that Beethoven gave some thought to the opera and 
experimented with some themes. There are interesting notes on 
a work with a classical subject, the words apparently the begin- 
ning of an invocation to Pan, in a sketchbook of 1815, which 

»No. 3, Op. 90; No. 4, "Tremate, empj, tremate," Op. 116; No. 8, Op. 97; No. 9, 
Op. 96; No. 10, "King Stephen," Op. 117; No. 11, "Namensfeier," Op. 115; No. 12, 
"Ruins of Athens," Op. 113. 

Sketches for a "Bacchus" Opera 


Nottebohm describes in his "Zweite Beethoveniana" (p. 329 et 
seq.) without saying whether they belong to Treitschke's "Romu- 
lus" or von Berge's "Bacchus." Dr. Riemann assumes without 
hesitation that the sketches were made for "Bacchus" and sees a 
premonition of Wagner's methods in the following: 

boun - ti-ful 

bountiful Pan 

not quite so characteristic, it must be evolved out of the B. M.^ where the 

dance only intermittently 



Throughout the opera probably dissonances, unresolved or very dif- 
ferently, as our refined music cannot be thought of in connection with those 
barbarous times. 

On the approach of warm weather the Erdodys removed for 
the summer to Jedlersee, never to return to the Schottenbastei; 
and as Lichnowsky was dead, Beethoven had no inducement 
longer to remain in that vicinity and therefore departed from the 
Molkerbastei — also never to return. The new lodging was in the 
third storey of a house then belonging to Count Lamberti, in the 
Sailerstatte, with a double number 1055, 1056, near which he had 
lived a dozen years before, having the same sunny aspect and the 
glorious view across the Glacis from the Karlkirche and the 
Belvidere Gardens, away across the Danube to the blue Carpathian 
mountains in the distance. In this house, about the first of June, 
Haring introduced to Beethoven the very fine English pianist and 
enthusiastic musician Charles Neate, who after five months' study 
with Winter in Munich had come to Vienna in the hope of 
obtaining instruction from the great symphonist. To his ap])li- 
cation, Beethoven replied in substance: "I cannot teach, but I will 
give you an introduction to my master, Forster" (which he did 
by letter), "and you may bring your compositions to me for my 
inspection, and I will examine and remark upon them." In con- 
sequence of this permission Neate saw him almost daily. Beet- 
hoven spent a part of this summer in Baden, and Neate took a 
room very near him. There the composer was in the habit of 
working all the forenoon, dining early at twelve or one o'clock, 
and, towards evening, walking with Neate — sometimes up the 

iDr. Riemann interprets Beethoven's "B. M." as standing for "Bacchus Motive.' 

316 The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven 

Helenen-Thal, oftener through the fields. Neate, in the course 
of his long life — he was nearly eighty when he related these things 
to the author 1 — had never met a man who so enjoyed nature; he 
took intense delight in flowers, in the clouds, in everything — 
"nature was like food to him, he seemed really to live in it." 
Walking in the fields, he would sit down on any green bank that 
offered a good seat, and give his thoughts free course. He was 
then full of the idea of going to England, but the death of his 
brother and adoption of his nephew put an end to the project. 
Neate remembered the boy as a very beautiful, intelligent lad. 
Beethoven, at that time, and as Neate knew him, was charmingly 
good-tempered to those whom he liked — but his dislikes were so 
strong, that to avoid speaking to persons to whom he was not 
well affected, he would actually increase his pace in the street to a 
run. At this time, his dark complexion was very ruddy and 
extremely animated. His abundant hair was in an admirable 
disorder. He was always laughing, when in good humor, which 
he for the most part was, as Neate saw him. 

One day Neate spoke to him about the popularity of his 
Sonatas, Trios, etc., in England and added that his Septet was very 
much admired: — "That's damned stuff" (or "a damned thing"), 
said Beethoven, "I wish it were burned!" or words to this effect, to 
Neate's great discomfiture. Another time, walking in the fields 
near Baden, Neate spoke of the "Pastoral Symphony" and of 
Beethoven's power of painting pictures in music. Beethoven 
said: "I have always a picture in my mind, when I am composing, 
and work up to it." 

Neate conversed with him in German and had no difliculty 
in making him understand, when speaking into his left ear. He 
brought to Beethoven an order from the Philharmonic Society of 
London — obtained by the exertions of Ries — for three concert 
overtures, of which we shall hear more hereafter, ^ 

The destruction of Rasoumowsky's palace suspended his 
quartets, and Linke, the violoncellist, passed the summer with 
the Erdodys at Jedlersee. This gave the impulse to Beethoven to 
write the principal works of this year: the two Sonatas for Piano- 
forte and Violoncello, Op. 102. The first bears his date: "To- 

*The conversations with Neate took place in January, 1861. The writer was 
indebted to the late Henry F. Chorloy, for the pecuniary means of making his very 
valuable researches in England, and one of the bitter consequences of the unavoidable 
delay in writing this work, is, that Chorley can never read it. — A. W. T. 

'It is sufficient to say here, that instead of composing new ones as expected, he 
gave Neate the overtures to "King Stephen," the "Ruins of Athens" and the so-called 
"Namensfeier," and received for them 75 guineas. 

Otto Jahn's Recovery of Letters 317 

wards the end of July"; the second: "Beginning of August." 
While he was employed upon them, Treitschke called upon him for 
a closing chorus, "Es ist vollbracht," to a little dramatic piece 
similar to the "Gute Nachricht," entitled "Die Ehrenpforten," 
and prepared to celebrate the second capitulation of Paris. It 
was performed July 15, 16 and 23; and, on the occasion of the 
Emperor's nameday, was revived "with appropriate changes" 
October 3rd and 4th; but (according to the theatre bills) with the 
chorus "Germania" substituted for "Es ist vollbracht." 

This was the last year of Beethoven's personal intercourse with 
the Erdodys, a very interesting memorial of which, namely, a 
series of notes and letters, has been preserved and made public by 
the coolness and decision of Otto Jahn. Being in Munich in 1852, 
or about that time, he learned that this correspondence was in the 
hands — if our memory serve —